Another “Close of Business” HHS Mandate Press Release on a Friday

The Administration is getting good at squeezing off little last minute notices right before the end of the work week on Fridays. Come to think of it, they’ve been doing that since they announced the “Accommodation” back on February 10.

The Washington Examiner has the details,

President Obama’s Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on Friday announced that she is moving ahead with implementing the contraception coverage mandate.

“The President’s policy respects religious liberty and makes free preventive services available to women,” Sebelius said in her statement. “Today’s announcement is the next step toward fulfilling that commitment.”

The mandate has been very controversial because it would force many religious institutions and employers to pay the full cost of sterilization, contraception, and abortifacient pills despite their religious objections. HHS also said that the final rule would apply to student health insurance plans offered by colleges.

The announcement came late Friday afternoon, on the eve of St. Patrick’s Day, as the second day of March Madness basketball games were under way.

Sebelius’ announcement puts the regulatory wheels in motion to implement Obama’s policy by allowing a 90-day period for public comment, although the Health and Human Services Department is under no obligation to accept the recommendations made by the public.

You’ll want to bookmark this site to add your commentary. The folks over at Reuters add,

The move came a month after the White House tried to calm a furor among Roman Catholic bishops and other social conservatives by announcing it would not require church-run hospitals, universities and charities to foot the bill for birth control coverage but instead shift the burden to insurers.

The administration released preliminary regulatory language for an eventual rule that addressed a number of issues, including a yet-to-be-solved problem of religious institutions that provide their own health insurance.

The action’s bearing on birth control and religious freedom places it at the center of incendiary issues that have moved to the forefront of the election campaign for control of the White House and Congress.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, which has spearheaded opposition to Obama contraceptives policies, said it would examine the administration’s new proposed language to see if it met its demands.

But conference spokeswoman Sister Mary Ann Walsh chided the administration for releasing the document late on a Friday as Catholic leaders prepared to observe St. Patrick’s Day on Saturday.

The proposal provoked anger from some religious groups.

Don’t get angry, go celebrate instead. Because hopefully, the USCCB is prepared for such gamesmanship, and won’t have to break a stride before the celebration of St. Patrick’s Feast Day. In fact, Joe Six-Pack, USMC, advises they take the weekend off and celebrate this feast day in full Catholic, Lenten Season, style.

He also advises that they set the pace in the operational tempo department as much as they can. You know, follow Our Lord’s advice to be as clever as snakes, while being as innocent as doves. My ancient Chinese friend named SunTzu (he would have made a great Christian!) would concur and offer the following,

Be extremely subtle, even to the point of formlessness. Be extremely mysterious, even to the point of soundlessness. Thereby you can be the director of the opponent’s fate.

For as the Psalmist counsels,

God is our refuge and our strength,
an ever-present help in distress.
Thus we do not fear, though earth be shaken
and mountains quake to the depths of the sea,
Though its waters rage and foam
and mountains totter at its surging.

Streams of the river gladden the city of God,
the holy dwelling of the Most High.
God is in its midst; it shall not be shaken;
God will help it at break of day.
Though nations rage and kingdoms totter,
he utters his voice and the earth melts.
The LORD of hosts is with us;
our stronghold is the God of Jacob.

Come and see the works of the LORD,
who has done fearsome deeds on earth;
Who stops wars to the ends of the earth,
breaks the bow, splinters the spear,
and burns the shields with fire;
“Be still and know that I am God!
I am exalted among the nations,
exalted on the earth.”
The LORD of hosts is with us;
our stronghold is the God of Jacob.


Have a happy St. Patrick’s Day.

“I have cast myself into the hands of Almighty God, for He rules everything.”


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