White House giving up fight over Obamacare’s contraception mandate?
posted at 8:40 am on July 23, 2014 by Noah Rothman
The Supreme Court’s ruling in the Hobby Lobby case was met with incandescent outrage from progressives. The overturning of a mandate never passed by Congress which had not existed prior to 2010 signaled, those who consider themselves members of a class of deliberative and reasoned thinkers said, evidence of a theocratic judiciary in the United States. Recognizing the indignation on their side of the aisle, the White House responded by reassuring their base supporters that this offense would not go unanswered.
“Today’s decision jeopardizes the health of women who are employed by these companies,” White House Press Sec. Josh Earnest said.
He added that it the administration would urge members of Congress to plug this new hole in the Affordable Care Act, and that is exactly what they did. In order to appease the notoriously lethargic base of Democratic voters who had suddenly grown energized over the specter of impeded access to free contraceptives, Congressional Democrats submitted a measure aimed at restoring that coverage without amending the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. It failed to pass.
After that ol’ college try, it seems the White House may be giving up on the fight over the contraception mandate entirely. In a move sure to dispirit their supporters, the administration is reportedly developing a compromise proposal which The Hill reports would let “nonprofits opt out of ObamaCare’s contraception mandate without filing a form they say violates their religious belief.”
On Tuesday, a senior administration official said they are working on an alternative option for religious nonprofits that do not want to fill out the document and will issue a federal regulation in the next month.
While the officials provided no further details, they emphasized the regulation will not shift the burden of paying for contraception to the employees.
The news comes after the Supreme Court issued an injunction in favor of Wheaton College, an evangelical institution in Illinois that will not have to fill out the third-party form while the high court makes its ruling, which isn’t expected until at least fall.
In the wake of Tuesday’s decision in Halbig, the war to keep Obamacare intact is becoming a multi-front conflict. Politics is, as they say, the art of the possible and compromise is probably a welcome short-term solution to this issue until the broader problem of the Affordable Care Act’s legitimacy can be finally determined at the ballot box.
This will not satisfy Democrats who were spoiling for a fight and abhor compromise over an issue so central to the War on Women.