USCCB: No, the new HHS “accommodation” doesn’t cut it

posted at 3:21 pm on February 7, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

This won’t surprise anyone who read the tea leaves from Archbishop Charles Chaput on Monday, but nonetheless news.  The US Conference of Catholic Bishops pledged renewed opposition to the recently revised HHS contraception mandate today. The statement from Cardinal Timothy Dolan highlighted the lack of any real protection against the requirement to facilitate access to products and services that violate the tenets of the Catholic Church and other faiths, and also the fact that the so-called “accommodation” leaves ordinary citizens unable to put that faith into practice (via The Corner):

On Friday, the Administration proposed to drop the first three parts of the four-part test.This might address the last of the concerns above, but it seems not to address the rest.The Administration’s proposal maintains its inaccurate distinction among religious ministries. It appears to offer second-class status to our first-class institutions in Catholic health care, Catholic education, and Catholic charities. HHS offers what it calls an “accommodation,” rather than accepting the fact that these ministries are integral to our Church and worthy of the same exemption as our Catholic churches. And finally, it seems to take away something that we had previously—the ability of an exempt employer (such as a diocese) to extend its coverage to the employees of a ministry outside the exemption.

Second, United for Religious Freedom explained that the religious ministries not deemed “religious employers” would suffer the severe consequence of “be[ing] forced by government to violate their own teachings within their very own institutions.”After Friday, it appears that the government would require all employees in our “accommodated” ministries to have the illicit coverage—they may not opt out, nor even opt out for their children—under a separate policy.In part because of gaps in the proposed regulations, it is still unclear how directly these separate policies would be funded by objecting ministries, and what precise role those ministries would have in arranging for these separate policies.Thus, there remains the possibility that ministries may yet be forced to fund and facilitate such morally illicit activities. Here, too, we will continue to analyze the proposal and to advocate for changes to the final rule that reflect these concerns.

Third, the bishops explained that the “HHS mandate creates still a third class, those with no conscience protection at all:individuals who, in their daily lives, strive constantly to act in accordance with their faith and moral values.”This includes employers sponsoring and subsidizing the coverage, insurers writing it, and beneficiaries paying individual premiums for it.Friday’s action confirms that HHS has no intention to provide any exemption or accommodation at all to this “third class.”In obedience to our Judeo-Christian heritage, we have consistently taught our people to live their lives during the week to reflect the same beliefs that they proclaim on the Sabbath.We cannot now abandon them to be forced to violate their morally well-informed consciences.

Dolan states that the Obama administration leaves them no choice as to their task ahead:

Because the stakes are so high, we will not cease from our effort to assure that healthcare for all does not mean freedom for few.Throughout the past year, we have been assured by the Administration that we will not have to refer, pay for, or negotiate for the mandated coverage.We remain eager for the Administration to fulfill that pledge and to find acceptable solutions—we will affirm any genuine progress that is made, and we will redouble our efforts to overcome obstacles or setbacks.Thus, we welcome and will take seriously the Administration’s invitation to submit our concerns through formal comments, and we will do so in the hope that an acceptable solution can be found that respects the consciences of all.At the same time, we will continue to stand united with brother bishops, religious institutions, and individual citizens who seek redress in the courts for as long as this is necessary.

I’m not surprised.  After looking at the so-called compromise last Friday, I came to much the same conclusion in a column written for The Fiscal Times.  The most pressing question will be whether the new language satisfies the federal court that demanded changes after the Obama administration’s lawyers admitted that they couldn’t enforce the mandate with its mid-2012 language intact.  The court demanded to have the new language in place by March 31st, but they may rule earlier if Belmont Abbey and Wheaton Colleges press the matter by submitting the new language right away.

If it doesn’t — and the court again presses the Obama administration for an explanation about enforcement — then we may soon see yet another iteration of the HHS mandate.  So far, though, they’re not improving with practice.


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Obama’s not interested in compromise ever. He wants to fundamentally transform the US into a socialist utopia. What will it take for the GOP establishment understand this?

sauldalinsky on February 7, 2013 at 3:27 PM

“HHS will fail…under it’s own weight” – Gov. Rick Perry

workingclass artist on February 7, 2013 at 3:29 PM

I hope the USCCB has a secure, hardened bunker to protect against a likely OBOZO drone attack

TeaPartyNation on February 7, 2013 at 3:33 PM

Barry Obama and Her Holiness of Health Care are just going to continue to double down on stupid.

GarandFan on February 7, 2013 at 3:33 PM

“Eventually we do have a problem. That the population is getting older, health care costs are rising… there is this question of how we’re going to pay for the programs. The year 2025, the year 2030, something is going to have to give…

We’re going to need more revenue… Surely it will require some sort of middle class taxes as well… We won’t be able to pay for the kind of government the society will want without some increase in taxes… on the middle class, maybe a value added tax…

And we’re also going to have to make decisions about health care, doc pay for health care that has no demonstrated medical benefits.

So the snarky version… which I shouldn’t even say because it will get me in trouble is death panels and sales taxes is how we do this…” – Economist Paul Krugman

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=H9u2Lf0DdzA

workingclass artist on February 7, 2013 at 3:34 PM

we will not cease from our effort to assure that healthcare for all does not mean freedom for few.

His Eminence has a slogan worthy of a bumper sticker there:

“Healthcare for all should not mean freedom for few.”

JimLennon on February 7, 2013 at 3:36 PM

I’m not at all surprised at this. I can’t decide why the Obama administration ever thought they could pull this off. If they think all Americans are as lacking in critical thinking and discernment as Obama voters, they’ve missed the mark. Those who are pro-life have been dealing with politicians too long to be fooled with shell games.

“HHS will fail…under it’s own weight” – Gov. Rick Perry

workingclass artist on February 7, 2013 at 3:29 PM

At some point the Byzantine maze of regulations is going to entangle the feet of those who are trying to force people to violate their beliefs and conscience. They’re going to fall into the pit they’ve dug for others.

INC on February 7, 2013 at 3:36 PM

I’m happy to see even qualified opposition to ObumblesCare. We need all the help we can get fighting this thing.

MTF on February 7, 2013 at 3:37 PM

Dolan states that the Obama administration leaves them no choice as to their task ahead:

…which is…as you know…to sit down and shut up!

KOOLAID2 on February 7, 2013 at 3:40 PM

USCCB: No, the new HHS “accommodation” doesn’t cut it

If I’m correct, USCCB initially supported Obamacare. Now they are whining about the contraception mandate. Please tell them to cry me a river.

antifederalist on February 7, 2013 at 3:40 PM

“HHS will fail…under it’s own weight” – Gov. Rick Perry

workingclass artist on February 7, 2013 at 3:29 PM

…another “little fart”… from Rick Perry?

KOOLAID2 on February 7, 2013 at 3:42 PM

They don’t get it, do they? They just don’t.

Bob's Kid on February 7, 2013 at 3:43 PM

“Universal healthcare still totally kicks ass, though!”, added Dolan.

Armin Tamzarian on February 7, 2013 at 3:47 PM

All who brung/kept Obama, go to Hades, with yours too. May he destroy you all. YOU deserve NO less.

Time to wake up.

The line btw. state and church is severed by Obama.

Schadenfreude on February 7, 2013 at 3:47 PM

“HHS will fail…under it’s own weight” – Gov. Rick Perry

workingclass artist on February 7, 2013 at 3:29 PM

…another “little fart”… from Rick Perry?

KOOLAID2 on February 7, 2013 at 3:42 PM

Yeah…Living in Texas is like living in a whole nother country.

workingclass artist on February 7, 2013 at 3:52 PM

If I’m correct, USCCB initially supported Obamacare. Now they are whining about the contraception mandate. Please tell them to cry me a river.

[antifederalist on February 7, 2013 at 3:40 PM]

Well, they’ve always objected to the parts which infringe on their rights. Other people’s rights they were happy to trample all over in their rush to support it.

Dusty on February 7, 2013 at 3:53 PM

I’m happy to see even qualified opposition to ObumblesCare. We need all the help we can get fighting this thing.

[MTF on February 7, 2013 at 3:37 PM]

Don’t get too happy nor stand in front of them. The USCCB will switch sides as soon as they get their 30 pieces of silver.

Dusty on February 7, 2013 at 3:57 PM

” For decades, Democrats and Republicans alike have invested heavily in governance schemes that erode the Constitution’s separation of powers and mar its proper functioning. The Federal judiciary has uniformly rubber-stamped these schemes. The consequence has been an unsustainable spree of borrowing, spending and overregulation at the Federal level, cyclical fiscal crises at the state level, and less accountable and less representative government at every level.

These governance schemes are generally of two kinds: one erodes the separation of powers between Federal and state governments, while the other erodes the separation of powers within the Federal government. In the first category is “cooperative federalism”, whereby the Federal government uses monopoly powers to coerce and subvert the prerogatives of state governments. In the other is Congress’s delegation of vast rule-making authority to administrative agencies….”

http://www.the-american-interest.com/article.cfm?piece=1353

workingclass artist on February 7, 2013 at 4:02 PM

O/T Check this out.

http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Journalism/2013/02/07/Morgan-blame-deranged-criminal-not-politics

jawkneemusic on February 7, 2013 at 4:00 PM

Morgan got pwned. :)

22044 on February 7, 2013 at 4:19 PM

Then why did the USCCB work with Dear Liar for national healthcare?

rbj on February 7, 2013 at 4:20 PM

Man, that picture looks like he and Ed Schultz were separated at birth!

Hill60 on February 7, 2013 at 4:22 PM

If I’m correct, USCCB initially supported Obamacare. Now they are whining about the contraception mandate. Please tell them to cry me a river.

antifederalist on February 7, 2013 at 3:40 PM

Well, yes and no. But they’re indeed culpable, and I write as a lifelong Catholic.

The contention occurred with the House vote on Obamacare in November 2009. Pro-life Dems, led by Bart Stupak, insisted on an amendment that accomplished nothing but gave a fig leaf to their pro-life credentials; these 24 or so House Dems claimed that they could not support Obamacare without the Executive Order protection. Pelosi and liberal Dems had no choice but to go along if they wanted any bill to pass the House; the margin was very close on the Democratic side, even with pro-life planks.

So GOP congressman Shadegg of Arizona, correctly as it turned out, advised the GOP leadership to instruct its caucus to vote against the Stupak amendment, knowing that it would kill Obamacare in the House (or at least slow it down) — e.g., the GOP would team up with pro-abortion Dems to defeat the Stupak amendment. But the Catholic Church refused to let the GOP off the hook, indeed, compounding the problem, various pro-life groups claimed they would “score” the vote, thereby putting more pressure on GOP House members to fall in line.

Notwithstanding their pabulum that pro-life supporters must never abandon the unborn, the result has been something horrifically different. Had the House vote been delayed for just a few weeks resulting from a protracted abortion battle, then there is no way that Harry Reid could have assembled his 60 votes just prior to Christmas on the Senate side. Immediately thereafter Scott Brown was elected in January 2010, and the House had to accept the Senate bill… b/c Reid would never have 60 votes again and could not re-secure cloture from any House-Senate conference.

Bottom line: the Catholic Church let Pelosi off the hook by insisting on Stupak. An argument can be made that Pelosi would have twisted enough arms within her caucus to find some compromise and further marginalize the GOP’s pro-life posture, but the resulting delay, as seen in the rear view mirror, could have been fatal to Obamacare with Scott Brown’s subsequent election immediately ahead.

That said, it is also true that Reid could have moved his bill on the Senate side b4 Pelosi had cleared a bill in the House, but every Democratic senator expected the House to finish its work first.

The entire dreadful saga does point out that legislative delay is a very good option when you oppose something, because the hand of fate can often intervene in unexpected ways.

Had this been a GOP administration, there is no way the media would have allowed the incessant and blatant corruption and abuse of power that accompanied the entire enactment of Obamacare in the House, the Senate, and the Executive Branch.

And the Catholic Church is complicit in the wreckage resulting from its shortsighted stupidity.

matthew8787 on February 7, 2013 at 4:34 PM

Then why did the USCCB work with Dear Liar for national healthcare?

rbj on February 7, 2013 at 4:20 PM

Because they’re part of a large hierarchical government themselves (the Vatican is a country after all) and when push comes to shove believe more in the efficacy of bureaucracy which compels behavior than free will and God’s will. 2 Corinthians 9:6-8

Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.

Fenris on February 7, 2013 at 4:40 PM

At some point the Byzantine maze of regulations is going to entangle the feet of those who are trying to force people to violate their beliefs and conscience. They’re going to fall into the pit they’ve dug for others.

INC on February 7, 2013 at 3:36 PM

Listening to Rush today gave me some new hope. He said something that made sense on many levels; “no one wants to die.”

There will come, as more stories of people turned away due to age, a point where healthcare for our elderly will be recognized for finding cheap ways for people to die.

Already Krugman has admitted it as such.

I don’t know if Obamacare can be overturned. But if not, it will hang as an albatross around the Democrats.

itsspideyman on February 7, 2013 at 4:59 PM

Hey Ed. I watched a clip on The Blaze (original C-Span clip) earlier on the 2013 National Prayer Breakfast. Dr. Benjamin Carson gave a powerful speech that did not amuse Obama at all. C-Span appears to have removed the video (in a matter of hours) from their library. Can you or anyone else find another copy. It was 26 minutes long. Well worth the time and effort to find it. Trust me.

dddave on February 7, 2013 at 6:49 PM

dddave on February 7, 2013 at 6:49 PM

Not the best quality, but this is part of it anyway

Eren on February 7, 2013 at 8:15 PM

Because they’re part of a large hierarchical government themselves (the Vatican is a country after all) and when push comes to shove believe more in the efficacy of bureaucracy which compels behavior than free will and God’s will.

Fenris on February 7, 2013 at 4:40 PM

A large hierarchical government instituted by the Lord.

unclesmrgol on February 7, 2013 at 10:23 PM