Looks like the pen and phone work just fine from the 15th hole on vacation, when it comes to the Obamacare birth control mandate.
As the Times Free Press reports,
Seeking to quell a politically charged controversy, the Obama administration announced new measures Friday to allow religious nonprofits and some companies to opt out of paying for birth control for female employees while still ensuring those employees have access to contraception.
Even so, the accommodations may not fully satisfy religious groups who oppose any system that makes them complicit in providing coverage they believe is immoral.
Effective immediately, the U.S. will start allowing faith-affiliated charities, colleges and hospitals to notify the government — rather than their insurers — that they object to birth control on religious grounds. A previous accommodation offered by the Obama administration allowed those nonprofits to avoid paying for birth control by submitting a document called Form 700 to their insurers, but Roman Catholic bishops and other religious plaintiffs argued just submitting that form was like signing a permission slip to engage in evil.
In a related move, the administration announced plans to allow for-profit corporations like Hobby Lobby Inc. to start using Form 700. The Supreme Court ruled in June that the government can’t force companies like Hobby Lobby to pay for birth control, sending the administration scrambling for a way to ensure their employees can still get birth control one way or another at no added cost.
The dual decisions mark the Obama administration’s latest effort to address a long-running conflict that has pitted the White House against churches and other religious groups. The dispute has sparked dozens of legal challenges, fueling an election-year debate about whether religious liberty should trump a woman’s access to health care options.
“Today’s announcement reinforces our commitment to providing women with access to coverage for contraception, while respecting religious considerations raised by nonprofit organizations and closely held for-profit companies,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell.
Yet the latest proposals will likely run up against the same objections, because they still enable employees to receive contraception through their health plans — one of a range of preventive services required under President Barack Obama’s health care law.
“We will be studying the new rule with our clients, but if today’s announcement is just a different way for the government to hijack the health plans of religious ministries, it is unlikely to end the litigation,” said Mark Rienzi, senior counsel at the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty. The fund has represented both Hobby Lobby and Wheaton College, an evangelical school whose case also made its way to the Supreme Court.
The world is burning down, but at least the President has time for the really important stuff, like mandating that taxpayers pay for things about which the Constitution gives the Federal Government zero authority.
It’s interesting that in telling me about this, Facebook fed me hundreds of posts by people–not connected to me on Facebook in any way—who linked to the HuffPo article, and the comments are almost universally bigoted, vile, and vulgar (not that I expect civility from those who advocate the slaughter of infants), incredibly and culpably uninformed, and unabashedly supportive of forcing people to pay for what violates their conscience.
There is no human hope for this nation, that’s for sure.