Mandate a cure in search of a disease

posted at 8:40 am on February 15, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

The fight over the employer mandate to provide free contraception, even for religious organizations, won’t end any time soon.  The US Conference of Catholic Bishops are now pointing out that the so-called “accommodation” didn’t actually change the text of the rule at all, and that it leaves the door wide open for mandates on sterilization and abortion coverage.  That prompted columnist John Leo to wonder exactly how the Constitution can force religious organizations to violate their own principles in funding and facilitating products and services banned by their own doctrines, and notes that the issue has been with us for longer than we think:

In the conventional liberal narrative, the refusal of Boston Catholic Charities to approve gay adoptions was a simple issue of discrimination. Generally absent from the discussion was this question: Under what conditions can the state force churches and religious agencies either to violate their own principles or to quit providing social services altogether?

Jean Bethke Elshtain, a professor of social and political ethics at the University of Chicago Divinity School, calls this establishment pressure “liberal monism.” She means that those who talk the most about diversity and pluralism are often the most willing to mandate that all private and religious institutions conform to one ideological framework.

Liberals, she says, are eradicating the differences needed to make tolerance a viable practice. In order to enhance diversity, it is necessary to suppress it. That’s why the current battle against Washington-imposed monism is so crucial, and why it should be much more than a fringe issue in the fall campaign.

In that case, the church only sought to apply its own principles to adoptions it facilitated.  It made no attempt to interfere with other adoptions, nor did it seek to change Massachusetts state law.  As Leo writes, the diocese only asked for as much tolerance for its own religious views as the diocese gave to secular views on the issue of gay adoptions … and didn’t get it.  Instead, it went out of the adoption business in Massachusetts, where it had handled nearly a third of the hard-to-place adoption cases for the state, almost entirely at its own expense.

Unfortunately, religious organizations face the same choice under ObamaCare and this mandate.  Either they will have to fund and/or facilitate products and services that violate their religious doctrine or go out of business altogether.  Thanks to the new federal employer mandate to provide health insurance in ObamaCare, these organizations no longer have the option of just canceling their insurance provisions to avoid the mandate.  And why is this mandate necessary in the first place?  Is there some great crisis of access to contraception and abortifacients among employed people that only employers can solve?  In my column for The Week, I look at the CDC’s in-depth survey of contraception use and find out that the question of access never even comes up as a barrier:

Employers still have to provide coverage — at no cost, not even copays — for contraception and abortifacients such as “ella” and Plan B, as well as IUDs. Here’s a question few are asking: Why? Obama and his administration insist that women need better access to contraception and abortifacients, but few women have problems accessing them. The CDC reported in 2009 that contraception use wasn’t exactly lacking: “Contraceptive use in the United States is virtually universal among women of reproductive age: 99 percent of all women who had ever had intercourse had used at least one contraceptive method in their lifetime.” Of all the reasons for non-use of contraception in cases of unwanted pregnancy, lack of access doesn’t even make the CDC’s list; almost half of women assumed they couldn’t get pregnant (44 percent), didn’t mind getting pregnant (23 percent), didn’t plan to have sex (14 percent), or worried about the side effects of birth control (16 percent). In fact, the word access appears only once in this study of contraceptive use, and only in the context of health insurance, not contraception.

I’ve mentioned this before, but the notion of no-cost contraception mandates for the employer don’t make a lot of business or political sense, either.  In the latter context, who decided to put the employer in the bedrooms of their employees?  Does that sound like a good idea to anyone?  Many businesses self-insure, which means that their HR department will know exactly what they’re buying on behalf of the employee.  From the business side, the mandate turns the concept of risk management on its head:

The mandate for no-cost insurance coverage makes no business sense, either. Insurers operate risk pools, and the more risks one group creates, the more they are expected to contribute to balance the risk for the other participants. For instance, when a driver buys insurance, his rates depend on a number of factors, including age, vehicle type, area of residence, driving record, and the number of miles driven in a year. If a driver chooses to drive more than 7,500 miles in a year, the risk increases, and so do premiums for that driver. If the insurer spread the cost of this one driver’s increased risk across the whole pool of drivers, it would disincentivize risk minimization. Adults can choose to be sexually active. They might require contraception. But if the government mandates coverage of those products, shouldn’t the people choosing that riskier behavior be expected to contribute more rather than less, to keep the rest of the risk pool from paying for their increased access?

The White House and HHS insist that this is immaterial, because it’s cheaper to provide the contraceptive coverage than to exclude it. This is based on a cost-benefit analysis that claims that the use of contraception and abortifacients lower health-care costs for women. If that’s true, however, health insurers wouldn’t need a mandate to add such coverage to existing plans. The problem with this analysis is that it ignores the fact that insurers have to cover the up-front cost of such products and services, while any possible savings (by preventing more expensive pregnancy and childbirth costs) would occur over a much longer period of time. Those up-front costs will be borne by those paying the premiums — in this case, the employers (and sometimes, partially, by employees.)

The real problem in this issue isn’t access to contraception.  When 99% of women of reproductive age have accessed it without an employer mandate, access is as universal as it can get.  The real issues are religious liberty, as we have often discussed, and the more acute problem of ObamaCare itself.  This is not just some benign federal resource-sharing program designed to make it easier to find coverage; this is, as we repeatedly warned, a mechanism for the federal government to take control of the health-care industry and have unelected bureaucrats rule one-sixth of the American economy by diktat.  Repealing the mandate is the first step; repealing ObamaCare will be the only way to ensure that bureaucrats don’t have the power to do this again.

On that first step, Harry Reid backed down yesterday and will allow a vote on Roy Blunt’s bill to repeal the mandate and insert a broad religious exemption into ObamaCare, while it lasts:

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., relented on Tuesday and now says he’ll allow a Senate vote on an amendment that would reverse the White House’s controversial requirement that all insurers provide birth control free of charge to women. The proposal put forward last week by Sen.Roy Blunt, R-Mo., would exempt employers from providing any care they find immoral.

It’s unlikely to pass the Senate, and Reid blocked the vote last week. But he gave in on Tuesday, providing a potential opportunity for his fellow Democrats Ben Nelson of Nebraska (a cosponsor of Blunt’s amendment), Robert Casey of Pennsylvania, and Joe Manchin of West Virginia to reaffirm their anti-abortion credentials and reassure constituents concerned about preserving religious scruples.

Opponents object to the broader language, saying it will allow employers to opt out of any coverage they find offensive — which is exactly what they could do before the passage of ObamaCare, or have the option of not offering it at all.    The House will almost certainly pass its own version quickly.  It looks like Reid will force Obama to veto the bill to which it is attached, which will make Obama look even more radical than the Senate his party controls.  That should be … interesting.

Meanwhile, Republicans need to focus on repealing ObamaCare and ending the anachronistic tax regulations that perpetuates the third-party-payer, employer-delivery system for health insurance and transform coverage into a personal choice for the individual consumer.  That’s the true path to health-insurance reform, and one that doesn’t hand massive power to federal bureaucrats who want to dictate our choices and violate our religious doctrines.

Update: Does the mandate violate existing federal law?  Ed Whelan and David Rivkin argue that it does:

The birth-control coverage mandate violates the First Amendment’s bar against the “free exercise” of religion. But it also violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. That statute, passed unanimously by the House of Representatives and by a 97-3 vote in the Senate, was signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1993. It was enacted in response to a 1990 Supreme Court opinion, Employment Division v. Smith.

That case limited the protections available under the First Amendment’s guarantee of free exercise of religion to those government actions that explicitly targeted religious practices, by subjecting them to difficult-to-satisfy strict judicial scrutiny. Other governmental actions, even if burdening religious activities, were held subject to a more deferential test.

The 1993 law restored the same protections of religious freedom that had been understood to exist pre-Smith. The Religious Freedom Restoration Act states that the federal government may “substantially burden” a person’s “exercise of religion” only if it demonstrates that application of the burden to the person “is in furtherance of a compelling governmental interest” and “is the least restrictive means of furthering” that interest.

The law also provides that any later statutory override of its protections must be explicit. But there is nothing in the ObamaCare legislation that explicitly or even implicitly overrides the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The birth-control mandate proposed by Health and Human Services is thus illegal.


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Obowma’s words are empty the second they leave his lips.

He is a disgrace as president.

dthorny on February 15, 2012 at 8:42 AM

They are going to cure Liberalism?

KOOLAID2 on February 15, 2012 at 8:43 AM

OBAMA on TV saying CONGRESS OVERSTEPPED their bounds with the MANDATE!

http://www.eyeblast.tv/public/checker.aspx?v=hdqGnz6UqG

Just like superpacs, he was all against them, before he was for them.

Major_Skidmark on February 15, 2012 at 8:44 AM

On that first step, Harry Reid backed down yesterday and will allow a vote on Roy Blunt’s bill to repeal the mandate

He didn’t back down. This is orchestrated. If it passes, the rats will screech about those radical R’s taking away women’s rights. If it fails, the mandate rolls on.

Lost in Jersey on February 15, 2012 at 8:45 AM

The proposal put forward last week by Sen.Roy Blunt, R-Mo., would exempt employers from providing any care they find immoral.

 
Obamacare has obviously been accepted by the (R)s. Now we’re seeing their amendments to shape it.
 
Hooray./

rogerb on February 15, 2012 at 8:45 AM

Repealing the mandate is the first step; repealing ObamaCare will be the only way to ensure that bureaucrats don’t have the power to do this again.

Repeal. Repeal. Repeal.

petefrt on February 15, 2012 at 8:47 AM

Rush did a long monologue yesterday postulating that this whole birth control thing has been coordinated since day 1, starting with George Stephanopoulos doing his JournoLister duty by inserting the issue into the debate, just to have the rest of the JournoList media hop on and drive the point home to those still dumb enough to consume such media.

I guess that’s what you have to do, when you’re otherwise so ashamed of your entire belief system you need to set up the strawmen and fight.

MNHawk on February 15, 2012 at 8:48 AM

When JugEars can stand in front of the nation and in front of the press talk about a compromise, that as the words come out of his mouth you know immediately is not really a bit of difference from the original statement…and nobody says a thing – right there! The inmates are already running the asylum!

KOOLAID2 on February 15, 2012 at 8:52 AM

This is another reason why we are so much better off with the “ONE” than Hillary. Hillary is way too shrewd to let her self righteousness trip her up. She’d have passified her radical base until the second term before requiring all churches to recgonize her as the second coming.
Also we would have never been priviledged to “Fast and Furious” info for years. Until we found where she’d hidden all the bodies.
Obama’s sophmoric tendencies at tyranny are to be thankful for. Israel would be even less safe (if that’s possible at this point) under Hillary as well.

onomo on February 15, 2012 at 8:52 AM

Obama’s plan was to try to get the Catholic Church to go against their ideals. If they did he’d be able to then turn Catholics against the church for doing so.

Divide and Conquer has always been the Obama plan.

Major_Skidmark on February 15, 2012 at 8:53 AM

while any possible savings (by preventing more expensive pregnancy and childbirth costs) would occur over a much longer period of time.

And this is an utterly false argument. It assumes simply a cost of contraception vs. cost of birth analysis. It completely ignores the wealth creation of a child from an unplanned pregnancy.

Look at Steve Jobs. Assume his mother had health insurance with Company A that covered his birth. Does anyone argue that the wealth Jobs created far outweighed the wealth spent on his birth? And presumably someone who got wealthy from Steve Jobs innovations had insurance with Company A, paying far more in premiums than it cost Company A to spend on Jobs’ birth.

Cost of birth vs. cost of contraception is a superficial argument.

rbj on February 15, 2012 at 8:54 AM

There needs to be a makeup mandate for health insurance, too. Those ladies can’t pick the guys up to use their insurance-paid contraceptives on, so makeup is part of health care and insurance companies must cover it. Buying and selling makeup is also interstate commerce so the federal government can make any laws about makeup that it wants and can force people to buy it … think of it as a public service that we all kick a nickel in for …

This is how this nation IS, now. Pathetic.

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on February 15, 2012 at 8:54 AM

I really wish we weren’t arguing against the particular birth control mandate, but against all insurance mandates. Insurance mandates are sold to voters using the pixie dust of socialism. Perhaps if voters understand how mandates are paid for, they would reject all of them.

thuja on February 15, 2012 at 8:56 AM

On that first step, Harry Reid backed down yesterday and will allow a vote on Roy Blunt’s bill to repeal the mandate and insert a broad religious exemption into ObamaCare, while it lasts:

That’s a good first step, and I am glad Republicans are trying to do something, but… let me get this straight: Obama can just mandate stuff, and we have to get a bill through congress to stop it? And then he can just veto it anyway? Does that sound completely backwards to anyone else? At least in the area of healthcare (and that is a pretty broad catagory), the president basically has unlimited power.

Isn’t that a dictatorship?

bitsy on February 15, 2012 at 8:59 AM

.. how long until the ‘cost-benefit’ calculations of contraceptive failure -vs- abortion leads to sterilization .. hmmmmm?

/.

CaveatEmpty on February 15, 2012 at 9:03 AM

When is Nathor joining the thread?

neuquenguy on February 15, 2012 at 9:04 AM

MNHawk on February 15, 2012 at 8:48 AM

Yup, everyone, including the candidates were a bit confused by Georgie-boy inserting birth control into the debate. It was like a record scratch… Wha?

But, now it is clear. Move the debate away from abortion and to the less controversial birth control meme. Declare the Republicans are at war with women (and gays – don’t forget the AIDS condom PSAs). Rinse and repeat. The dog whistle for hysteria to begin on the left has been blown.

Our entitled children have been taught by bedraggled old feminists that consequence-free sex is a right. Free birth control a right. They will shout it out from their tent cities this Spring.

Fallon on February 15, 2012 at 9:05 AM

Missouri Synod president says church remains ‘deeply concerned’ about health plan mandate despite White House statement

OmahaConservative on February 15, 2012 at 8:54 AM

Hey OC,
Good to see ya! This may be O’s undoing, he may inadvertantly find himself responsible 4 uniting all of Christianity & if that can be accomplished he CAN be defeated in November because Christians more likely to get out & vote….#hope

huskerdiva on February 15, 2012 at 9:06 AM

thuja and bitsy: Your points are well taken. The issue is larger than this single mandate.

Obamascare should be scrapped before people begin to be lulled by false WH portrayals and the promise of “freebies,” which are not free.

onlineanalyst on February 15, 2012 at 9:07 AM

I really wish we weren’t arguing against the particular birth control mandate, but against all insurance mandates. Insurance mandates are sold to voters using the pixie dust of socialism. Perhaps if voters understand how mandates are paid for, they would reject all of them.

thuja on February 15, 2012 at 8:56 AM

I think voters don’t deal with general issues as well as with particulars ones. That is why it is important to fight this particular fight with all our might all the while pointing out that this is just one of the disastrous consequences of Obamacare.

neuquenguy on February 15, 2012 at 9:07 AM

Boston Catholic Charities was forced to stop facilitating adoptions by the state of MA for not serving homosexual couples.

Mother can’t pack lunches for their own kids in some districts without state approval.

And now, employers will be forced to drop health care coverage rather than violate their most deeply held principles. That’s the point with the contraception mandate being forced on all employers, not just Catholic church ministries.

Play by the rules or you can’t offer health insurance benefits. Oh, and coincidentally, that statists want single payer health care, so this is their way of ending private insurace for millions..

This is tyranny. And its apologists are tyrants.

Akzed on February 15, 2012 at 9:09 AM

Next up:

Mandate that car insurance pay for oil changes every 3000 miles, new brakes every 15,000 miles and new tires every 40,000 miles.

Why not? Oil changes, new brakes and tires will lead to safer cars and fewer accidents, which will lead to cheaper insurance. Right?

angryed on February 15, 2012 at 9:09 AM

Our entitled children have been taught by bedraggled old feminists that consequence-free sex is a right. Free birth control a right. They will shout it out from their tent cities this Spring.

Fallon on February 15, 2012 at 9:05 AM

What I don’t understand is why the insurance will pay for my recreational sex but not for the expenses leading up to it, like dinner and the movie tickets.

neuquenguy on February 15, 2012 at 9:10 AM

Don’t worry guys. President Romney will fix all this stuff.
Oh wait. He won’t since as governor he signed the exact same bill into law.

angryed on February 15, 2012 at 9:12 AM

huskerdiva on February 15, 2012 at 9:06 AM

Hey darlin’
I am praying you are right. I’ve been turned off by a lot of the new freaks that got in through the last open reg and doing more lurking than posting…

OmahaConservative on February 15, 2012 at 9:13 AM

What I don’t understand is why the insurance will pay for my recreational sex but not for the expenses leading up to it, like dinner and the movie tickets.

neuquenguy on February 15, 2012 at 9:10 AM

Contact your congressman. ;)

Fallon on February 15, 2012 at 9:13 AM

Isn’t it fun being able to see socialism on the march in the U.S.? Used to be it was just creepking along,usually lurking in the shadows. But now, with “The One” in charge, it is up font and proudly going forward. THIS is what he meant by Hope and Change folks.

BTW, regarding the picture accopanying this article…If Reid had a sickle in his hands, won’t he look like Death?

dirtseller on February 15, 2012 at 9:15 AM

Harry Reid would never allow a vote if he knew it would pass because then Obama would be forced to take a position by signing or vetoing the bill. Right now he can pretend that he compromised.

Wigglesworth on February 15, 2012 at 9:15 AM

That prompted columnist John Leo to wonder exactly how the Constitution can force religious organizations to violate their own principles in funding and facilitating products and services banned by their own doctrines, and notes that the issue has been with us for longer than we think:

The RCC, through Catholic Charities, has sued in court over the contraception requirement on First Amendment grounds. It lost when the court found that Catholic Charities wasn’t entitled to the same exemption that RCC parishes received. Catholic Charities appealed the case to the US Supreme Court which denied to hear the case.

At this point the RCC, and Obama, can play this for political gain with their bases. However, the First Amendment question is something the courts have weighed, and in so-doing made a distinction between a church and a church-owned business.

OptionsTrader on February 15, 2012 at 9:17 AM

The argument over “free” contraceptives is part of the larger Liberal mindset that “there can be no freedom until everything is free”. If you have to pay for contraceptives it means that you could lose the freedom to have them if you lose your job or income. By same token, anyone who refuses to pay for your contraceptives, such as your employer, is trying to take away your freedoms.

The other reason for this fight is that the Left is laying the groundwork for mandated abortion coverage. Abortificient contraceptives today, fully-funded abortions tomorrow.

PackerBronco on February 15, 2012 at 9:18 AM

Meanwhile, Republicans need to focus on repealing ObamaCare and ending the anachronistic tax regulations that perpetuates the third-party-payer, employer-delivery system for health insurance and transform coverage into a personal choice for the individual consumer.

Continue dreaming Ed. Your so called “Obamacare” will never be repealed.Your side of the isle will continue to promise you they will just so you can keep donating to their campaigns.

Uppereastside on February 15, 2012 at 9:18 AM

“The Obama Administration listened to these concerns, made further accommodations and has struck a reasonable balance. It is a solution that continues to recognize the obvious truth that women have a right to affordable and comprehensive health care, just as men do. One thing we all should agree on is that availability of birth control has improved women’s health and reduced the number of teen pregnancies and the rates of abortion. This should be applauded.”

SOURCE Office of U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy

How many lies can be packed into one paragraph? This many. Note the studious avoidance of directly addressing the concerns that are causing the current trouble.

Akzed on February 15, 2012 at 9:20 AM

I really wish we weren’t arguing against the particular birth control mandate, but against all insurance mandates. Insurance mandates are sold to voters using the pixie dust of socialism. Perhaps if voters understand how mandates are paid for, they would reject all of them.

thuja on February 15, 2012 at 8:56 AM

I think most voters have two contradictory positions on issues like this. Ask them if they’re in favor of getting free stuff and they’ll say yes. In fact, they think they’re entitled to it.

Ask them if they’re willing to pay for someone else’s free stuff and they’re say “no” in overwhelming numbers.

Few, it seems, can put the two together in their minds.

PackerBronco on February 15, 2012 at 9:22 AM

Next up:

Mandate that car insurance pay for oil changes every 3000 miles, new brakes every 15,000 miles and new tires every 40,000 miles.

Why not? Oil changes, new brakes and tires will lead to safer cars and fewer accidents, which will lead to cheaper insurance. Right?

angryed on February 15, 2012 at 9:09 AM

Why not go a bit further and mandate that all funerals are paid for by the insurance companies, and call it “a survivor’s benefit”?

Rovin on February 15, 2012 at 9:23 AM

neuquenguy on February 15, 2012 at 9:10 AM

Fallon beat me to it.
Give them time

ORconservative on February 15, 2012 at 9:25 AM

I command it so! 0. With that said , Ed, I don’t like any of it.

Bmore on February 15, 2012 at 9:25 AM

The White House and HHS insist that this is immaterial, because it’s cheaper to provide the contraceptive coverage than to exclude it. This is based on a cost-benefit analysis that claims that the use of contraception and abortifacients lower health-care costs for women.

Complete and utter nonsense.

That would only be true if people were not already paying for contraceptives out of their own pocket. But they are.

So all the mandate is doing is giving people what they could and are, providing for themselves.

It’s like arguing that government should pay for everyone’s dinner because otherwise we would all starve.

PackerBronco on February 15, 2012 at 9:28 AM

First of all, it is Obamacare that it the problem.
Secondly, why is the right not screaming from the top of their lungs that this puts the employer in the bbedroom?
Eventually the government.
Evil white Republicans are evil because they are supposedly in Bob and Joe’s love den, but it is ok for my health provider to know what and how much contraception I use?
Add the school lunch thing and tyranny is here.

ORconservative on February 15, 2012 at 9:29 AM

Your side of the isle

Uppereastside on February 15, 2012 at 9:18 AM

Mary Ann is way hotter than Ginger.

Del Dolemonte on February 15, 2012 at 9:30 AM

What I don’t understand is why the insurance will pay for my recreational sex but not for the expenses leading up to it, like dinner and the movie tickets.

neuquenguy on February 15, 2012 at 9:10 AM

hell yeah, how much does a 7-11 burrito and a PPV porno add to the premium, come on.

t8stlikchkn on February 15, 2012 at 9:30 AM

The Religious Freedom Restoration Act doesn’t apply on the state level–which was why MA could demand Catholic adoption agencies conform to state mandates regarding gay couples. But it does apply on the federal level. Even more significantly, the whole religious liberty conflict will inevitably impact the Supreme Court’s decision on the constitutionality of Obamacare itself.

Nothing illustrates so cogently the assault on American liberties by a government already grown too oppressive as does the health care law. I can’t imagine Obama realizes how much this recent mandate undercuts his legal position in the SC any more than he realized that attacking the Supreme Court verbally at a State of the Union Address was not a wise thing to do, given the respect owed to a co-equal branch of government with the power to checkmate him. His arrogance is breathtaking. So is his lack of common sense.

writeblock on February 15, 2012 at 9:31 AM

Mary Ann is way hotter than Ginger.

Del Dolemonte on February 15, 2012 at 9:30 AM

yeah, but ginger does that thing..ya know…with the coconut.

t8stlikchkn on February 15, 2012 at 9:32 AM

I really wish we weren’t arguing against the particular birth control mandate, but against all insurance mandates. Insurance mandates are sold to voters using the pixie dust of socialism. Perhaps if voters understand how mandates are paid for, they would reject all of them.

thuja on February 15, 2012 at 8:56 AM

Agree, but one benefit of this highly-visible flap is that it points up the inherent tyranny of all mandates, at all levels. The trick is to generalize while keeping the focus on individual outrages—and there are plenty more.

MrLynn on February 15, 2012 at 9:35 AM

That would only be true if people were not already paying for contraceptives out of their own pocket. But they are.

So all the mandate is doing is giving people what they could and are, providing for themselves.

It’s like arguing that government should pay for everyone’s dinner because otherwise we would all starve.

PackerBronco on February 15, 2012 at 9:28 AM

I wouldn’t trust the admin’s number on this anymore than on their budget projections. However, what they may be getting at is a rationale like this : “By covering all women we get to those who are too cheap, poor or irresponsible to purchase birth control. It is that group, specifically, that is ill-equipped to have unexpected children, and when they do they create a significant burden on society.”

ObamaCare should be overturned, but subsidized birth control could save the government money if done properly.

OptionsTrader on February 15, 2012 at 9:37 AM

Why not go a bit further and mandate that all funerals are paid for by the insurance companies, and call it “a survivor’s benefit”?

Rovin on February 15, 2012 at 9:23 AM

I’m concerned about young boys and girls from families too poor to afford a $1000 themed birthday party. A good birthday party is so essential for a kid’s self-esteem that we should require insurance to pay for them. Think of the children!

thuja on February 15, 2012 at 9:39 AM

“By covering all women we get to those who are too cheap, poor or irresponsible to purchase birth control. It is that group, specifically, that is ill-equipped to have unexpected children, and when they do they create a significant burden on society.”

ObamaCare should be overturned, but subsidized birth control could save the government money if done properly.

OptionsTrader on February 15, 2012 at 9:37 AM

They could argue that, but it’s stupid on several accounts:

1) If it were true, it would not justify providing free contraceptives for everyone.

2) The discussion here is over an employer mandate. If these poor people are employed, they can afford their own contraceptives if they really want them.

3) If these people are too irresponsible to purchase and use contraceptives now, providing them in a health insurance plan will not make them any more responsible or any more likely to use them.

Once again it goes back to my earlier point: Liberals truly believe that unless everything is free, you can have no freedom. Once you grasp that, you have grasp 90% of the liberal mindset on these issues.

PackerBronco on February 15, 2012 at 9:48 AM

Next up:

Mandate that car insurance pay for oil changes every 3000 miles, new brakes every 15,000 miles and new tires every 40,000 miles.

Why not? Oil changes, new brakes and tires will lead to safer cars and fewer accidents, which will lead to cheaper insurance. Right?

angryed on February 15, 2012 at 9:09 AM

Excellent analogy Ed, this monstrosity needs complete and total repeal. If this beast gets to stay, say goodbye to Constitutional Republic and say hello to Socialist Utopia. I’m not joking; this is the whole linchpin of the socialist dream to overtake America.

D-fusit on February 15, 2012 at 9:50 AM

In order to enhance diversity, it is necessary to suppress it.

Priceless.

GarandFan on February 15, 2012 at 9:55 AM

while any possible savings (by preventing more expensive pregnancy and childbirth costs) would occur over a much longer period of time.

In addition to the excellent observation rbj makes above, this argument would only have merit if contraceptives were not readily available today. Since women have virtually unlimited access to contraceptives already, the supposed insurance cost savings attributed to the mandate from decreased pregnancies is just BS.

It only serves to shift the cost of contraception away from the person who should be paying for it to the insurance companies and ultimately, the employer and all insured members.

Wealth redistribution AND poking the church in the eye… It just doesn’t get any better than that for our esteemed leader.

MarkM on February 15, 2012 at 9:55 AM

Coming soon to a wife near you: domestic violence screening and counseling.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 1, 2011

Contact: HHS Press Office
(202) 690-6343
Affordable Care Act Ensures Women Receive Preventive Services at No Additional Cost

Historic new guidelines that will ensure women receive preventive health services at no additional cost were announced today by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)…

Akzed on February 15, 2012 at 9:55 AM

If they can mandate that you have insurance, and mandate that you pay for free contraception for other people, they can mandate that your wife submit to “domestic violence screening.”

And of course if your wife doesn’t want it, she must have something to hide.

Oh yeah, even though domestic violence is pretty much a 50/50 proposition, men won’t get it. I mean, I guess we should be thankful.

Akzed on February 15, 2012 at 9:57 AM

The White House and HHS insist that this is immaterial, because it’s cheaper to provide the contraceptive (and abortifacients) coverage than to exclude it. This is based on a cost-benefit analysis that claims that the use of contraception and abortifacients lower health-care costs for women.

There you have it folks. Killing babies is cheaper. That’s the soul-less, heartless b@st@rds justification for slaughtering children…it saves money. How vile these people are.

Trafalgar on February 15, 2012 at 9:58 AM

There are 6 Catholic Supreme Court Justices. One of them is Sotomayor. That’s still 5 POed Supremes.

Nethicus on February 15, 2012 at 9:59 AM

Hey darlin’
I am praying you are right. I’ve been turned off by a lot of the new freaks that got in through the last open reg and doing more lurking than posting…

OmahaConservative on February 15, 2012 at 9:13 AM

I understand, but the more they let on, the more traffic 2 the site..(sighs) Anyhow, I’m not on much either, except to read Cindy Munford or Canop or some of the other oldies. I read KJ’s blog rather than look for his posts here & bunch of the oldie but goodies are on FB now. I’ve become more of a #twittergal where you can easily block the trolls

huskerdiva on February 15, 2012 at 10:00 AM

The discussion here is over an employer mandate. If these poor people are employed, they can afford their own contraceptives if they really want them.
PackerBronco on February 15, 2012 at 9:48 AM

Tying insurance to employers is a dumb idea. It makes it more expensive for US corps to hire Americans and it means that people who lose their jobs then have a concurrent health insurance issue, even allowing for COBRA.

OptionsTrader on February 15, 2012 at 10:00 AM

Mandate a cure in search of a disease

Is pregnancy a disease?

Steve Z on February 15, 2012 at 10:02 AM

And, while they are trying to distract from the real issue of the blatant assault on the Church’s 1st Amendment rights by framing the arguement around contraception, make no mistake about it, “contraception” is the liberal newspeak for abortion.

Trafalgar on February 15, 2012 at 10:03 AM

The real issues are religious liberty

Some of us would argue that it should read: the real issues are liberty.

burt on February 15, 2012 at 10:05 AM

The other reason for this fight is that the Left is laying the groundwork for mandated abortion coverage. Abortificient contraceptives today, fully-funded abortions tomorrow.

PackerBronco on February 15, 2012 at 9:18 AM

Abso-freakin-lutely!

Kudos, Ed, your analysis is spot-on! I’ll be sharing it!

Naturally Curly on February 15, 2012 at 10:05 AM

I sure hope the Catholic Church is preparing an amicus brief on this prior to the March 26 oral argument. It’s real simple: in the individual mandate is constitutional then the First Amendment guarantee of religious liberty is not.

senor on February 15, 2012 at 10:06 AM

Ed, you need to make a correction to this statement in both articles:

Employers still have to provide coverage — at no cost, not even copays — for contraception and abortifacients such as “ella” and Plan B, as well as IUDs

This is a misconception that is being repeated everywhere out of ignorance: Ella/Plan B are not abortifacients, they are emergency contraceptives. The links you provide to both drugs say as much.

Emergency contraceptive drugs work in the same way as normal contraceptives work, just in a much higher dosage. Emergency contraceptives and “The Pill” prevent pregnancies by stopping ovulation, preventing implantation, and/or blocking fertilization.
They cannot induce an abortion of an implanted, fertilized embryo.

Abortifacients such as mifepristone, (RU486 “the Morning After Pill”) will induce an abortion.

Biologically and chemically, there is a difference in how these drugs work, I’m just stating the facts so you can make more educated arguments ;-)

HA commenters are within their rights to be morally opposed to all forms of contraceptive drugs and abortions, and I am in no way defending the administration’s overreach here.

cmsciulli on February 15, 2012 at 10:06 AM

However, what they may be getting at is a rationale like this : “By covering all women we get to those who are too cheap, poor or irresponsible to purchase birth control. It is that group, specifically, that is ill-equipped to have unexpected children, and when they do they create a significant burden on society.”

But what if those women still don’t want to use contraceptives? That’s why a ‘mandate’ to use them is next since they will be ‘free’. Maybe a one child rule (but only for the unwashed masses)? I wouldn’t put it past them if we let this go. Remember the roots of Planned Parenthood are eugenics.

mathgal60 on February 15, 2012 at 10:08 AM

Of course the libs in MA were happy to run the church out of the adoption business, that’s why they did what they did. Then the state could step in to fill the void left when a religious group left. Just another instance when the govt takes over and the church is out of peoples lives.
If women’s health products were cheaper to cover for the insurance companies, they would jump right on it, then they could raise the cost of pregnancy care. Why is it so hard for those in govt to see that when they start messin’ with free enterprise, they always screw it up.

Kissmygrits on February 15, 2012 at 10:08 AM

Tying insurance to employers is a dumb idea. It makes it more expensive for US corps to hire Americans and it means that people who lose their jobs then have a concurrent health insurance issue, even allowing for COBRA.

OptionsTrader on February 15, 2012 at 10:00 AM

That issue goes all the way back to WWII in which employers began to offer health care and other benefits as a way to get round wage controls. Since you couldn’t pay people more than was allowed, employers had to find some way of attracting and keeping the best employees.

All of which shows a basic principle of economics: there is no such thing as a free lunch and the true cost of things will manifest itself one way or another.

One proposal at the time would be to include the value of such benefits in any tax valuation of an individual’s wages, but that caused such a stink that it was quickly dropped.

And from there can the general idea that benefits should be a part of one’s employment especially since it represented untaxable income to the employee.

PackerBronco on February 15, 2012 at 10:08 AM

There are 6 Catholic Supreme Court Justices. One of them is Sotomayor. That’s still 5 POed Supremes.
Nethicus on February 15, 2012 at 9:59 AM

Don’t be too sure they would vote their faith, they can’t vote with the Constitution half the time. And maybe they should recuse themselves just to be sure?

Or perhaps Obooba will appoint three or four non-Catholics next month to ensure objectivity.

Akzed on February 15, 2012 at 10:09 AM

Missouri Synod president says church remains ‘deeply concerned’ about health plan mandate despite White House statement

OmahaConservative on February 15, 2012 at 8:54 AM
Hey OC,
Good to see ya! This may be O’s undoing, he may inadvertantly find himself responsible 4 uniting all of Christianity & if that can be accomplished he CAN be defeated in November because Christians more likely to get out & vote….#hope

huskerdiva on February 15, 2012 at 9:06 AM

Of course the brilliant United Methodist Church is in favor of the mandate. But try enforcing immigration laws, and the esteemed bishop of Chicago will go all obscure-Leviticus-verse-quoting on you.

Nutstuyu on February 15, 2012 at 10:22 AM

I don’t know what the problem is here. Government imposed, top-down mandates are “fundamentally conservative.”

besser tot als rot on February 15, 2012 at 10:24 AM

All of which shows a basic principle of economics: there is no such thing as a free lunch and the true cost of things will manifest itself one way or another.

PackerBronco on February 15, 2012 at 10:08 AM

Good points. Much agreed. The home mortgage interest deduction is another well-meaning government policy that ultimately may have done more harm than good.

OptionsTrader on February 15, 2012 at 10:27 AM

Something else that needs to be beaten into people’s thick skulls is the fact that having health insurance pay for anything drives up the cost. Sure, you can make your insurer pay for 80% of your condoms, but they’ll be much more expensive than they would have been otherwise.

And then there’s the added benefit of making people even more dependent on health insurance because yet another basic health product is now too expensive to buy with cash.

Nom de Boom on February 15, 2012 at 10:31 AM

I forgot to add that, as an anecdote, the 500 mg of Tylenol you take in the hospital costs your insurance company roughly $5-7.

Nom de Boom on February 15, 2012 at 10:32 AM

Rush posed the question yesterday towards the end of his show: what is so crucial about free contraception? He of course has his theories, which is that the Dems always, always, always prey on people’s fears, and if the government doesn’t provide something, anything, citizens will be at the mercy of terrible consequences, whatever they are. There doesn’t have to be an actual consequence, necessarily; they just have to create that impression.

But I ran across this article by George Weigel from National Review: The Libertine Police State, and there’s a quote in it which might just sum up what this is all about:

There, as the Senior Vatican Official told the story, a somewhat scruffy Dutch activist got up and announced to all and sundry, “Let’s stop fooling around here. What we’re talking about is our right to f*** whoever we want, however we want, whenever we want.”

and

The Dutchman’s formulation may have lacked elegance, but it certainly didn’t lack precision. For that was precisely what was at issue 18 years ago, and it is precisely what is at issue today: Will the sexual revolution, which reduced sex to a recreational activity of no moral consequence, be protected, advanced, and indeed mandated by the coercive powers of the modern state?

There is irony in the fire here, of course. What began as a movement to liberate sexuality from the constraints of moral reason, custom, and law has become a movement determined to use the instruments of law to impose its deconstruction of human sexuality and its moral relativism on all of society.

So once again, it all boils down to control, the government as enforcer of the sexual “revolution.” Throw in the Left’s ridiculous and debunked Malthusian notion of a “population bomb,” and you have their justification for abortion on demand. At the bottom of their nasty, black-holed hearts, these people have the most deep-seated hatred of humanity imaginable and that is what has always driven every destructive policy they’ve ever had.

PatriotGal2257 on February 15, 2012 at 10:43 AM

ObamaCare should be overturned, but subsidized birth control could save the government money if done properly.

OptionsTrader on February 15, 2012 at 9:37 AM

Like China’s one-child policy..?

affenhauer on February 15, 2012 at 10:50 AM

Obamacare has obviously been accepted by the (R)s. Now we’re seeing their amendments to shape it.

Hooray./

rogerb on February 15, 2012 at 8:45 AM

ObamaCare hasn’t been “accepted” by the Republicans. The Republican-controlled House already voted to repeal it, but the bill died in the Democrat-controlled Senate.

If Republicans take the Senate and the White House in 2012, ObamaCare WILL be repealed in 2013. But since (past) elections have consequences, Republicans can’t repeal it entirely right now, so they are trying to block its most unpopular parts right now, while waiting for the power to repeal it completely.

Steve Z on February 15, 2012 at 10:51 AM

Even if you don’t have a strong opinion on the religious aspect of this, how about the private industry being force to give a product or service away at no cost.

Cindy Munford on February 15, 2012 at 10:51 AM

ObamaCare should be overturned, but subsidized birth control could save the government money if done properly.

OptionsTrader on February 15, 2012 at 9:37 AM

By “done properly” do you mean getting the scissors into the baby’s skull at just the right angle?

Trafalgar on February 15, 2012 at 10:56 AM

The birth-control coverage mandate violates the First Amendment’s bar against the “free exercise” of religion. But it also violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

You know, when I thought this mandate merely violated the Constitution I couldn’t see what all the hubbub was about. But now that I realize it also violates some law I’ve never heard of, I’m kind of P.O.’d.

rogaineguy on February 15, 2012 at 10:59 AM

Even if you don’t have a strong opinion on the religious aspect of this, how about the private industry being force to give a product or service away at no cost.

Cindy Munford on February 15, 2012 at 10:51 AM

The other part of this equation is what the government mandates it can also take away.

Imagine a mandate in which insurance companies are to no longer cover the cost of pregancies beyond a certain number of children or in which the government imposes a surtax on parents after their 2nd or 3rd child.

And then we would have a President who piously tells us: “At some point you’ve had enough children.”

You might say that such a thing will never happen, but under ObamaCare the only thing preventing it is the good will of the elected officials.

When you surrender the control of your health care to the state, you have surrendered your libery and freedom.

PackerBronco on February 15, 2012 at 11:00 AM

By “done properly” do you mean getting the scissors into the baby’s skull at just the right angle?

Trafalgar on February 15, 2012 at 10:56 AM

Getting contraception to someone who doesn’t want a baby would seem to reduce the circumstance where abortions are considered.

OptionsTrader on February 15, 2012 at 11:07 AM

Our entitled children have been taught by bedraggled old feminists that consequence-free sex is a right. Free birth control a right. They will shout it out from their tent cities this Spring.

Fallon on February 15, 2012 at 9:05 AM

How did we get to birth control being a right but BIRTH IS NOT!

fbcmusicman on February 15, 2012 at 11:11 AM

HHS Sebelius is in front of Senate Committee now. Live here:

http://www.c-span.org/Events/Sec-Sebelius-Details-HHS-2013-Budget/10737428303-1/

bluefox on February 15, 2012 at 11:08 AM

Just heard that Senator Bingaman say that he thinks this mandate protects Religious liberty.

bluefox on February 15, 2012 at 11:18 AM

Just heard that Senator Bingaman say that he thinks this mandate protects Religious liberty.

bluefox on February 15, 2012 at 11:18 AM

It does. The religious liberty of the statists.

txhsmom on February 15, 2012 at 11:28 AM

At this point the RCC, and Obama, can play this for political gain with their bases. However, the First Amendment question is something the courts have weighed, and in so-doing made a distinction between a church and a church-owned business.

OptionsTrader on February 15, 2012 at 9:17 AM

I’m curious about the distinction you mention given that in the recent Hosanna-Tabor the Supreme Court voted 9-0 against the government.

writeblock on February 15, 2012 at 11:29 AM

Mary Ann is way hotter than Ginger.

Del Dolemonte on February 15, 2012 at 9:30 AM

Yea! Spend more time focusing on the typo over substance. Like i said, “Obamacare” will never be overturned. Just like Roe V Wade will never be overturned regardless of what your bought and paid for politicians tell you.

Uppereastside on February 15, 2012 at 11:32 AM

There is only one reason Harry Reid is going to allow this vote: So Bob Casey can vote for the bill. He is getting hammered back here in PA.

rockmom on February 15, 2012 at 11:33 AM

The other reason for this fight is that the Left is laying the groundwork for mandated abortion coverage. Abortificient contraceptives today, fully-funded abortions tomorrow.

PackerBronco on February 15, 2012 at 9:18 AM

Once abortion coverage is mandatory, the next step is mandatory abortion. If the government and the insurance companies are paying for your contraception and you get preggers anyway, why in the world do you think you should get to keep the baby and force the insurance company to foot the bill for pregnancy and delivery when an abortion is so much cheaper?

What kind of religious nut expects the taxpayers and insurance companies to pay for their kid’s existence? The kind of religious nuts that balk at feeding their kids the government approved chicken nuggets, that’s who. They shouldn’t be allowed to have ANY kids.

Lily on February 15, 2012 at 11:35 AM

Getting contraception to someone who doesn’t want a baby would seem to reduce the circumstance where abortions are considered.

OptionsTrader on February 15, 2012 at 11:07 AM

And yet, Planned Parenthood’s has created a billion dollar business based on just the opposite occuring. And business is booming.

Lily on February 15, 2012 at 11:39 AM

Lily on February 15, 2012 at 11:35 AM

As I wrote above, it won’t be that they’ll make abortion mandatory, instead it will either be that pregancies beyond a certain number will no longer be covered by insurance or the parents will have to pay a surtax for the “priviledge” of having a large family.

You can foresee the arguments right now:

“At some point you’ve had enough children”

“Why should I subsidize parents who are irresponsible enough to have large families?”

“This is a cost-saving measure which will improve the quality of life for everyone”

“It’s those damn Catholics and those old men with their outdated ideas of sex and children”

“Religious people are weird”

PackerBronco on February 15, 2012 at 11:42 AM

And this is an utterly false argument. It assumes simply a cost of contraception vs. cost of birth analysis. It completely ignores the wealth creation of a child from an unplanned pregnancy.

Look at Steve Jobs. Assume his mother had health insurance with Company A that covered his birth. Does anyone argue that the wealth Jobs created far outweighed the wealth spent on his birth?

rbj on February 15, 2012 at 8:54 AM

Excellent analysis!

Vince on February 15, 2012 at 11:44 AM

In that case, the church only sought to apply its own principles to adoptions it facilitated. It made no attempt to interfere with other adoptions, nor did it seek to change Massachusetts state law. As Leo writes, the diocese only asked for as much tolerance for its own religious views as the diocese gave to secular views on the issue of gay adoptions … and didn’t get it. Instead, it went out of the adoption business in Massachusetts, where it had handled nearly a third of the hard-to-place adoption cases for the state, almost entirely at its own expense.

U mean severely conservative & awesome RomneyCare forced religious organizations in MA to drop out of Adoptions in 2006…. Why what stalwart conservative would be credited by such a severely conservative feat… Can I vote for such as severely conservative creature???

Y314K on February 15, 2012 at 11:45 AM

PackerBronco on February 15, 2012 at 11:00 AM

It’s funny the things that stick out in your mind when you listen to The Won’s speeches. For this one (for me)it was that women, regardless of income, should get free contraception. We know that the poor are already receiving the service so he has to be talking about the middle class and the wealthy. Two years into his next term he will accuse these same women of stealing funds and services from the poor and demand that they be taxed to pay their “fair share”.

Cindy Munford on February 15, 2012 at 11:46 AM

I’m curious about the distinction you mention given that in the recent Hosanna-Tabor the Supreme Court voted 9-0 against the government.

writeblock on February 15, 2012 at 11:29 AM

Hosanna-Tabor addresses ministerial exemptions. Taking into account Hosanna-Tabor, the RCC would be able to have exemptions for their priests and other anointed workers in their charities, hospitals, universities, etc. However, the Court’s reasoning in Hosanna-Tabor wouldn’t extend to non-religious doctors, nurses, professors, etc.

The RCC could take a shot challenging the contraception mandate in court but the odds might not be great based on previous decisions that address the boundaries of First Amendment protections.

OptionsTrader on February 15, 2012 at 11:55 AM

There is only one reason Harry Reid is going to allow this vote: So Bob Casey can vote for the bill. He is getting hammered back here in PA.

rockmom on February 15, 2012 at 11:33 AM

Now wouldn’t it be nice if the PA voters held him accountable not only for his vote but influencing a couple of other democrats to vote the same way? It is easy to vote for something that your leader and your colleagues will make sure doesn’t pass, it is obviously merit-less.

neuquenguy on February 15, 2012 at 11:55 AM

PackerBronco on February 15, 2012 at 11:42 AM

I predict that they WILL make it mandatory. I further predict that if this isn’t stopped in it’s tracks NOW, even though I am old, I will live to see that day.

Because it won’t be enough for them that you pay for your own extraneous children. The very fact that you would even consider HAVING such children will prove that you are evil, hate the planet, want your children to live in dire poverty, and are willing to use up resources that rightly belong to others.

Right now, religious people are just weird, but the distance between labeling people weird to calling them evil is a short one. By playing on certain people’s fear of religion they can enflame the masses. One only needs to read through a few threads here at Hot Air to see how bigoted certain people are against the religious. There aren’t nearly as many on the threads here (even after open registration) as there are out there. The government is full of them.

I can’t believe I am saying this but Dick Morris (whom I cannot stand) is right. This has never been about contraception, it has always been about abortion. They are losing that battle. So they shift and tell us we are fighting a different battle. But it is, and it always has been about abortion.

Lily on February 15, 2012 at 11:58 AM

Obama should be impeached! He has continuously broken his oath of office to uphold the Constitution and to protect American citizens. This latest treasonous act is a direction violation of the first amendment.

jqc1970 on February 15, 2012 at 12:03 PM

So is this going to be the first time in the history of the Senate that the majority party filibusters a bill? That would allow the Blue Dogs the cover of saying they would have voted for it, if only they could have gotten John Kerry and Babs Mikulski to stop blathering.

oconp88 on February 15, 2012 at 12:11 PM

Boston archdiocese drops adoption services

In that case, the church only sought to apply its own principles to adoptions it facilitated. It made no attempt to interfere with other adoptions, nor did it seek to change Massachusetts state law. As Leo writes, the diocese only asked for as much tolerance for its own religious views as the diocese gave to secular views on the issue of gay adoptions … and didn’t get it. Instead, it went out of the adoption business in Massachusetts, where it had handled nearly a third of the hard-to-place adoption cases for the state, almost entirely at its own expense.

RomneyCare… The most severely conservative principle of all time, just ask Ann Coulter… Running over orphans since 2006… Vote for RomneyCare 2012…

Y314K on February 15, 2012 at 12:14 PM

There is only one reason Harry Reid is going to allow this vote: So Bob Casey can vote for the bill. He is getting hammered back here in PA.

rockmom on February 15, 2012 at 11:33 AM

I’m here in PA, too, and frankly Bob Casey should still get hammered anyway. He has disgraced his father’s pro-life legacy by voting for Obamacare in the first place and he shouldn’t be given a pass for this. He needs to be voted out regardless.

PatriotGal2257 on February 15, 2012 at 12:16 PM

Right now, religious people are just weird, but the distance between labeling people weird to calling them evil is a short one. By playing on certain people’s fear of religion they can enflame the masses. One only needs to read through a few threads here at Hot Air to see how bigoted certain people are against the religious. There aren’t nearly as many on the threads here (even after open registration) as there are out there. The government is full of them.

I can’t believe I am saying this but Dick Morris (whom I cannot stand) is right. This has never been about contraception, it has always been about abortion. They are losing that battle. So they shift and tell us we are fighting a different battle. But it is, and it always has been about abortion.

Lily on February 15, 2012 at 11:58 AM

My hubby was just saying this last week. In yet another deeply cynical move, Obama and the Dems are trying to paint the religious, and by extension, the GOP, as evil because “they don’t want you to have birth control.” They know how polarizing abortion is, but they are trying to codify contraception as a “right” that the GOP and those religious people are trying to take away.

PatriotGal2257 on February 15, 2012 at 12:25 PM

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