HHS Mandate: NOW Obama Says He Wants to Compromise

Obama-Portrait.jpg

Talk about giving the last drop of political blood.

President Obama defended the HHS Mandate until it got swacked at the Supreme Court, then he and his supporters in the United States Senate tried to kill the court decision with statutes. Now, after all that, the White House announces that it will come up with an “opt-out alternative for Catholic and other religious employers.”

I am guessing this is in advance of what he sees as a catastrophic (at least to him) spanking from the Supremes over the Little Sisters of the Poor.

From CatholicPhilly.com:

WASHINGTON (CNS) — The Obama administration has filed a brief with the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver indicating it plans to develop an alternative for Catholic and other religious nonprofit employers to opt out of providing federally mandated contraceptives they object to including in their employee health care coverage.

Several media outlets, including AP, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post, reported July 23 that the administration said it would come up with a “work-around” that would be different than the accommodation it currently has available to such employers.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, as part of the health care law, requires nearly all employers to cover contraceptives, sterilizations and some abortion-inducing drugs for all employees in their company health plan. It includes a narrow exemption for some religious employers that fit certain criteria.

Currently, there is an accommodation for those employers who don’t fit the exemption but who are morally opposed to providing the coverage. They must fill out a self-certification form — known as EBSA Form 700 — to direct a third party, usually the manager of an employer’s health plan, to provide the contested coverage.

Many religious employers who have sued over the mandate argue that even filling out Form 700 makes them complicit in providing coverage they find objectionable.

According to an AP story, the alternative the Obama administration said it plans to draft would allow these employers to opt out of the coverage they oppose without having to submit the form.

  • FW Ken

    Maybe someone convinced him that the optics of going to court against the Little Sisters of the Poor would be very bad. :-)

  • Mary E.

    I want to see exactly what the regulation says before I take a position on it. Hopefully there won’t be some sort of “drafting error” or “typo” that is only discovered two or three years later.

  • Sus_1

    I’m disgusted by this. All that time and turmoil for nothing. This should have been done at the beginning. I can’t help but wonder what he’s getting in return for caving. I also wonder what the catch is.

    This is good. I shouldn’t feel this way. I need to go back to bed and get up again. So grouchy!

    • CathyLouise

      Mid-term elections. He’s hoping his party will win mid-term elections.

  • fredx2

    Honestly, people should be very upset with this. First, he went against the time honored tradition of the US to provide exemptions for religious people. Then he and his buddies harassed and ridiculed Catholics non stop and tried using public pressure to force the church to back down.
    Then he wasted the resources of the Justice department on cases he could not win. (note the 9-0 losses he sustained in some cases) It there is one thing Obama is good at, it is wasting our time, wasting our money.

    • Mary E.

      Let’s wait and see what happens. The regulation hasn’t been revised yet, and the fact that the administration is filing a brief in court saying that they are planning to change it (without offering specifics) seems odd to me. It’s a HHS regulation, after all, and federal agencies are subject to established procedures for revising regulations, including provisions for public notice and comment. Perhaps this will turn out to be a defensive maneuver without any real substance to it, since this is the same court where the Little Sisters of the Poor case has been filed. Or perhaps there is something more substantial to it. I’m holding my anger in check until I know exactly what’s going on.

  • Bill S

    Many religious employers who have sued over the mandate argue that even filling out Form 700 makes them complicit in providing coverage they find objectionable.

    At some point religious freedom that conflicts with the ability of this country to govern its people will have to be denied to those who see it as a inalienable right to affect how other people live their lives.


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