health insurance mandates
Over the past few weeks there has been much discussion of the Obama Administration’s decision to mandate that even organizations associated with the Catholic Church cover contraception. This has raised the ire of many on the right, who view this mandate as an assault on religious freedom. Since the Catholic Church does not believe in using contraception, they argue, forcing them to cover it means they must violate their consciences. Leaving aside the details, one thing is clear to me - the critics of the mandate are almost without exception missing the larger point.
The contraception mandate is awful, for sure, but not because it is an “assault on religion.” It is wrong because the government has no business telling ANYONE what they must cover. The mandate would be wrong whether it was inflicted on a Catholic group, or a secular one. And to be honest, I don’t think that religion is even a major factor in the decision to establish the mandate. It is born out of a belief that there is some imaginary “right” to free health care, including contraception. That is the true abomination.
Furthermore, why is there outrage only now? Is it somehow okay to force non-Catholics to pay for other’s health care? I understand this involves an issue of great moral importance to Catholics. But is a federal mandate more wrong because it goes against a religious teaching? I say this because many, including myself, do not subscribe to a religion, or belong to one without much political clout. It is disturbing that somehow my liberty is not worth as much because I am in a minority and I don’t have groups lobbying on my behalf.
The White House announced today that there will be an exemption on the controversial contraceptive rule for religious organizations:
With the White House under fire for its new rule requiring employers including religious organizations to offer health insurance that fully covers birth control coverage, at 12:15 p.m. ET, President Obama will announce an attempt to accommodate these religious groups.
The move, based on state models, will almost certainly not satisfy bishops and other religious leaders since it will preserve the goal of women employees having their birth control fully covered by health insurance.
Sources say it will be respectful of religious beliefs but will not back off from that goal, which many religious leaders oppose since birth control is in violation of their religious beliefs.
One source familiar with the decision described the accommodation as “Hawaii-plus,” insisting that it’s better than the Hawaii plan — for both sides.