We are beginning to get reactions from Catholic and other religious leaders who had complained about the HHS mandate for contraception coverage concerning Obama’s compromise on the issue. Under the proposed compromise, religious groups who object to contraception would not have to provide the coverage but their insurer would have to reach out to the women affected to inform them that they can obtain contraception coverage at no cost.
As we might expect, some of the most extreme opponents have already rejected the compromise. For example, John Garvey President, The Catholic University of America, Mary Ann Glendon Learned Hand Professor of Law, Harvard University, Robert P. George McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence, Princeton University, O. Carter Snead Professor of Law, University of Notre Dame, Yuval Levin Hertog Fellow, Ethics and Public Policy Center released a statement today which reads in part:
This so-called “accommodation” changes nothing of moral substance and fails to remove the assault on religious liberty and the rights of conscience which gave rise to the controversy. It is certainly no compromise. The reason for the original bipartisan uproar was the administration’s insistence that religious employers, be they institutions or individuals, provide insurance that covered services they regard as gravely immoral and unjust. Under the new rule, the government still coerces religious institutions and individuals to purchase insurance policies that include the very same services. It is no answer to respond that the religious employers are not “paying” for this aspect of the insurance coverage. For one thing, it is unrealistic to suggest that insurance companies will not pass the costs of these additional services on to the purchasers. More importantly, abortion-drugs, sterilizations, and contraceptives are a necessary feature of the policy purchased by the religious institution or believing individual. They will only be made available to those who are insured under such policy, by virtue of the terms of the policy.
Now, if you except this logic then ANY provision of contraception services of ANY type to ANYONE in ANY organization, religious or not, results in religious organizations paying for this aspect of insurance coverage since the cost of providing these additional services would be passed along by insurance companies to its policy holders. If that is true, the only way avoid such so-called pass through of the cost would be for all insurance companies, or at least those who sold policies to religious employers, to REFUSE TO COVER CONTRACEPTION AT ALL for any policy holder regardless of religion.
Of course this whole line of reasoning is absurd for one reason if no other. Long term the provision of free contraceptive services drives down the cost of health insurance because it is much cheaper for insurance companies to provide women with access to contraception than to absorb the increased cost of medical care that often results from unplanned pregnancies. The net cost of providing women with access to free contraceptive services is either zero or results in a reduction in premium costs assuming the savings are passed along to policy holders.
Read more here: