Obamacare's to-do list:
It's clear; Team ObamaCare is swiftly completing its To-Do List and well on its way to numbers nine and ten if Team Common Sense doesn’t step up to the plate. The most recent task officially checked off the list is number eight: Curtail Religious Freedom.
On January 20, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius released a statement confirming the following:
“Today the department is announcing that the final rule on preventive health services will ensure that women with health insurance coverage will have access to the full range of the Institute of Medicine’s recommended preventive services, including all FDA -approved forms of contraception.”
Concomitant to the individual mandate in Obamacare, this regulation forces Catholic universities, charities and churches to provide coverage for preventive healthcare services (contraception, abortion, sterilization), which goes against the fundamental moral belief system of Catholics. Not surprisingly, this triggered what has been and continues to be a hostile reaction from Catholics nationwide on both sides of the political aisle.
Catholic priests across the country read letters to their clergy on Sunday denouncing the regulation along the similar theme that organizations “will be placed in the untenable position of having to choose between violating the law and violating their conscience.”
But on Tuesday, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said that “the proposal strikes the appropriate balance between religious beliefs on the one hand and the need to increase access to important preventive services for women.” Moreover, he said that he doesn’t “believe there are any constitutional rights issues here.”
Thankfully, Sebelius realizes it must be difficult to abandon one’s religious principles. A year should do it though, right?
“After evaluating comments, we have decided to add an additional element to the final rule. Nonprofit employers who, based on religious beliefs, do not currently provide contraceptive coverage in their insurance plan, will be provided an additional year, until August 1, 2013, to comply with the new law. Employers wishing to take advantage of the additional year must certify that they qualify for the delayed implementation. This additional year will allow these organizations more time and flexibility to adapt to this new rule.”
Alas, there is an exemption. On CNSNews.com, Fred Lucas writes:
“The regulation includes an exemption for “religious” employers, but to qualify for the exemption an employer must primarily employ people of its own faith, primarily serve people of its own faith, and primarily be involved in inculcating the tenets of the faith. In their comments to HHS on the regulation, the Catholic bishops said this “religious” exemption was so narrow Jesus Himself would not qualify for it.”
As more of the wonderful repercussions of ObamaCare are revealed, let’s hope that all Americans realize what’s at stake if numbers nine and ten get checked off the ObamaCare To-Do List as well.