Last week, the Obama administration clarified its position on the contraception mandate in the Affordable Care Act that would require company insurance plans to cover birth control for women as preventative care with no copays or deductibles. The mandate led to a collective hissy-fit from the religious right, who claimed their religious freedom was being trampled underfoot by the big, bad government.
While they refused to allow companies run by religious people any exemptions – rightly so – they expanded the exemption for religiously affiliated organizations:
The Health and Human Services Department rejected calls to let any employer opt out of the mandate based on religious objections to contraception. But the department took new steps to remove religiously affiliated employers from the process of paying for their employees’ contraception coverage.
The administration had announced last year that it would allow religiously affiliated nonprofits — for example, Catholic hospitals and universities — to avoid paying for birth control directly. Friday’s regulations clarify the process through which those employers’ insurance companies will offer birth control outside of the employers’ healthcare plans.
In actuality, not much has changed:
Consistent with the Advance NPRM, the NPRM proposes accommodations for additional non profit religious organizations, while also separately providing enrollees contraceptive coverage with no co-pays. An eligible organization would be defined as an organization that:
- opposes providing coverage for some or all of any contraceptive services required to be covered under Section 2713 of the PHS Act, on account of religious objections;
- is organized and operates as a nonprofit entity;
- holds itself out as a religious organization; and
- self-certifies that it meets these criteria and specifies the contraceptive services for which it objects to providing coverage.
Under the proposed accommodations, the eligible organizations would not have to contract, arrange, pay or refer for any contraceptive coverage to which they object on religious grounds.
In addition, under the proposed accommodations, plan participants would receive contraceptive coverage through separate individual health insurance policies, without cost sharing or additional premiums. The issuer would work to ensure a seamless process for plan participants to receive contraceptive coverage.
“Today’s proposed rule does nothing to protect the religious liberty of millions of Americans,” said the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which has filed several lawsuits challenging the mandate.
Yeah, well, guess what? Just because you’re a for-profit, Christian employer, you are not religiously affiliated, so you don’t get to dictate to the private activities or health care requirements of your non-Christian employees. So, unless you want to place your profits under the auspices of the Church — who will take their fair share, I’m sure — I respectfully suggest that you shut the hell up.
I know, I know…it sucks to be you…go have a nice sob in your holy water…