Nope. Obama is Just Making Strategic Moves on the HHS Mandate

Nope. Obama is Just Making Strategic Moves on the HHS Mandate February 1, 2013

Smart lawyer types and the USCCB and various other religious folk who bid fair to be screwed by this tyrannical act will have to take the magnifying glass to it and figure out what it all means but it’s not a very encouraging sign.

Here’s Ezra Klein’s first draft of history. As a non-lawyer type, my first response is “Why specify that this applies to ‘large faith-based hospitals and universities”. Why not anybody that wants to be exempted for the sake of conscience?” It reads like, “If your pockets are deep enough and you have enough legal firepower, we’ve decided its too much hassle to fight you. The rest of you little guys, get in line or we will smash you. And when we are finally strong enough, we’ll be back to smash the ones we exempted–for now.”

Am I missing something?

Still and all, a sign that our Ruling Class can’t *always* call the shots.  After all, if they were in total control, they wouldn’t have to create these ruses.

Keep up the court challenges till they really back down:

February 1, 2013 – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

The following quote may be attributed to Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Legal Counsel Matt Bowman regarding Friday’s announcement by the Obama administration regarding certain exemptions to its abortion pill mandate:

“All Americans, not just those in church organizations, are guaranteed freedom of conscience in their daily lives and work. The administration’s narrow gesture does nothing to protect many faith-based employers or religious families from the unconstitutional abortion pill mandate. The government has no business putting religious freedom on the negotiating table, or picking and choosing who is allowed to exercise faith.”

“The administration must immediately abandon the idea that it has the power to withhold or dispense our fundamental freedoms to whomever it chooses. The mandate is losing in court. The only acceptable solution is for the administration to obey the Constitution and its legal duty to protect religious freedom.”

Alliance Defending Freedom is litigating numerous lawsuits against the abortion pill mandate.

Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building legal ministry that advocates for the right of people to freely live out their faith.

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  • victor

    I think the operative words here are “It appears…” Per an email I just got from Helen Alvare of Women Speak For Themselves, In order to get the exemption, Catholic Hospitals (for example) will need to go through a certification process, and their employees will still have access to free contraception through separate polices issued to them without their employer’s awareness. So it seems that exemptions to the HHS Mandate are intended to be as few as possible, and there are easy ways around them. I think the jury is still out on this one.

  • Elizabeth

    Sadly, I think you are correct that this is the message: “If your pockets are deep enough and you have enough legal firepower, we’ve decided its too much hassle to fight you. The rest of you little guys, get in line or we will smash you. And when we are finally strong enough, we’ll be back to smash the ones we exempted–for now.”

  • I’m no lawyer. But what I’ve read and heard so far is that those who are lawyers or who know the details and are sympathetic to the cause aren’t jumping up and down for joy. That’s enough to make me hold off from too much celebrating just yet.

  • Jessie

    I don’t think that just ordering insurers be found to offer contraceptive coverage to exempt organizations at no charge to anybody will prove very workable….so then, of course, insurers must be compelled. It’s still crap and taking 80+ pages to say it probably means a certain level of disingenuousness is being pulled. I certainly didn’t read any willingness to avoid violating conscience ( that was studiously avoided) what I read was ” we are going to get our way and we will keep throwing ‘alternatives’ at the wall until one of them sticks and you religious weirdos go away”

  • David

    Seems to me that this is no different from the last non-compromise. As I understand it, the differences are:

    1. Old “compromise”: You must buy insurance policy covering birth control, but the insurer must pay for the birth control covereage (which is a mere accounting gimmick because the insurer will build that cost into the price of the policy).

    2. New “compromise”: You must buy insurance for your employees and, upon purchase, the insurance company will provide a separate policy covering birth control at no cost. (Again, the insurer will merely incorporate the price of the extra birth control policy into the price of the insurance).

    At the end of the day, the employer is still facilitating and paying for birth control. Abortions will be next.

  • It seems a positive step for religious non-profits. Seems.

    The problem is that the mandate continues to completely fail in recognizing that many, maybe even most, religious non-profits are self-insured. While it appears we don’t have to pay for contraception and abortifacients – we still have to provide the coverage, just through someone else. Still sounds like cooperation in a grave evil to me. I look forward to the bishops’ analysis and statement.

    And of course, this does absolutely nothing for Catholic (or otherwise!) business owners of good conscience.

    Prayers for our country, it leadership but most especially for the integrity of those who are faithful.

  • Art

    Surprise! We just playin yo! We gonna get Jay-Z and MTV to spread the message that we are willing to compromise!

    We just want the MSM, ya know the people we work very very closely with, to tell the vast majority of uneducated Americans that we are compromising. This is good because we look good and this will make you look bad for not being willing to play! Obama-nation!

  • I’ve provided my (usual verbose) analysis of this on my blog:
    Thanks for the heads up, Mark!

  • Kate

    It does seem that this might be workable, since the administration is effectively offering to fund these seperate policies by creating incentives for insurance companies to offer them. That could possibly be sufficient to prevent the costs from being rolled into the institutional cost of the group plan. At that point the organizations in question would not be facilitating nor paying for contraceptives.

    Still nothing for the private business owners though.

  • Stu

    As the street hustler says, “Watch the lady!”

    Lot’s of hand movement here, but nothing has changed.

    The hustle continues.

  • RobJ

    Here’s what the original mandate said: Every time an employer hires an employee, the employee is provided contraceptives, abortifacients, etc. free of charge *because* he/she was hired.

    Here’s what the compromise says: Every time an employer hires an employee, the employee is provided contraceptives, abortifacients, etc. free of charge *because* he/she was hired.

    If the government really wants *everyone* to have free contraception, then it should just cut out the middleman, i.e. the employer, and provide those things directly to the people. That would be much simpler, the government would achieve its goal, and freedom of religion would be respected.

    So why won’t the our political leaders just do that and be done with it? Hmmm…

    • Irenist

      So why won’t the our political leaders just do that and be done with it?

      The filibuster:
      Liberals would’ve loved to have a far more efficient, Canadian-style singer payer health insurance system, but the only way to get the likes of Lieberman and Snowe in the Senate to chip in toward 60 votes was to eliminate both single payer and even a public option in favor of the subsidized corporate kludge Obamacare is now. A single payer system could have paid for sinful garbage like contraception without involving taxpayers in direct cooperation with evil. But it’s not on the horizon.

      • RobJ

        President Obama might worry about the filibuster if he truly feels that his power is constrained. However, this is the same guy who keeps a secret kill list of American citizens whom he can assassinate on a whim. I don’t think he would have any problem saying that Obamacare is whatever he says it is, and that includes government-provided contraceptives. After all, the law is named after him.

        I suspect that President Obama doesn’t just want everyone to have “access” to contraceptives, he wants everyone to *provide* them as well.

  • Elmwood

    I know nobody will agree with me but Justice Roberts upheld the constitutionality of the HHS mandate because it was considered a “tax”. Now, our taxes pay for all sorts of immoral things like planned parenthood, unjust wars, national foundation for the arts, pbs, department of energy… etc. that we have no control of.

    Seriously though, why not focus on our effort on living out our faith and spreading it rather than trying to overly politicize something that is mostly out of our control. Even if Obama never pushed this health care mandate, Planned Parenthood would still get funding for contraceptives and Wall Street and big business will still get big government handouts. What can we do about it? Nothing. But we can try and live holy, faith-filled lives. Obama couldn’t have pushed this issue if Catholics lived out their faith. For one thing, he could never be elected.

    • rachel

      that’s a good point. I am trying to look at this from a positive perspective. Its a tiny first step. We know that the HHS mandate was a stupid political move to win re-election. Now, they are doing tiny steps. We’ll see. Honestly, there are other things that need our attention. If we get some incremental easing, then we will take it a tiny step at a time. Demanding all or nothing has got us nowhere (40 years of abortion and no let up…). We should live good, holy lives and show love to our neighbor, even if they don’t think or act like us. The tactics must change. It can’t go on like this. Is this compromise great? No. I’m not sickened by it though. Small steps, small steps and trust God.

    • Irenist

      Elmwood, I sympathize with your sentiment here. But this is a winnable battle for the Church and its allies. Why surrender preemptively?

      • Elmwood

        It’s a worthwhile fight for sure. I just wish that a similar effort was put forth by our bishops to preach the truth about the evils of the contraceptive mentality. This ultimately leads to culture of death. Some say that this isn’t about contraception but about “religious freedom”. I can see that partially, but this debate has been argued in such a way as to make it look like the church’s teaching on contraception is a strange religious belief of Catholics and not something fundamental and universal that touches on what it means to be a man and woman.

        Since contraception goes against the natural law, it should also be a debate about contraception and not just “religious freedom”. I think we are still in the shadow of Fr. Courtney Murray’s idea that contraception should be legalized.

    • R. Howell

      Elmwood, I don’t understand what you’re talking about – you seem to be confusing two entirely different “mandates”. The mandate that Justice Roberts upheld as a tax is the requirement that individuals who don’t get insurance from their employer must purchase their own. The mandate this discussion is about is the requirement that employers who do provide coverage must include contraception in that coverage. They have nothing to with each other really.

      • Elmwood

        The HHS mandate is a mandate under Obama’s Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). If it is like a tax, then how is it substantively different than our tax dollars going to immoral and evil policies that our government may support, which we know they do?

  • Scott W.

    Don’t feed the concern trolls.