President Obama had thought that he had put the matter to rest with a "compromise" months ago, the Catholic Health Association has just now spoken up against it.
In a letter to the federal Health and Human Services department, the hospital group said the compromise initially seemed to be "a good first step" but that examination of the details proved disappointing. The plan would be "unduly cumbersome" to carry out and "unlikely to adequately meet the religious liberty concerns" of all its members, the group said.
In its letter, the group said the government should either broaden the exemption for religious employers, or pay directly for the birth control coverage.
While the group had long been believed to be less influenced by the Catholic bishops who steadfastly opposed the contraception mandate, this flips the Administration on its head.
This comes in the wake of the announcement in late May that major Catholic groups are filing a lawsuit against the Obama Administration over the birth control mandate, setting up a legal showdown over religious liberty.
Obama's "compromise," of course, was not actually a compromise at all. Shifting the mandate from employers to insurance companies doesn't mean a thing. Money is fungible, and while it means that Catholic institutions wouldn't have to directly pay to subsidize birth control, it still means that individual Catholics are paying for it.
What this highlights is the broader problem of government-defined insurance. Obamacare forces everyone in America to purchase health insurance, which means that the definition of "health insurance" is up for debate. The White House wants the minimum requirements for coverage to mean that every single plan - both for men and women - to cover birth control. This is silly, of course, but it's going to set off a lobbying firestorm, as every drug company and device manufacturer will lobby the Obama Administration to get their treatment covered under the definition of minimum insurance.
Up until now, this was a state-based problem. But with the federal government setting minimum requirements for insurance, every single person in America will have to follow federal rules for minimum mandatory insurance.
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