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  • President Obama's Unworkable Non-Solution on Conscience

    Today, President Obama unsuccessfully attempted to extricate himself from a political crisis of his own making.

    The issue is Obamacare’s requirement that health insurers and employer-sponsored health plans cover federally mandated “preventive services” in their benefit packages—with no co-pays for enrollees—and the Administration’s subsequent regulatory requirement that those mandated preventive services include contraceptive products and services—including abortion-inducing drugs.

    The “compromise” the President announced today is that contraception coverage “will be offered to women by their employers’ insurance companies directly, with no role for religious employers who oppose contraception. Insurance companies will be required to provide contraception coverage to these women free of charge.”

    There are only two problems with the Administration’s so-called compromise:

    (1) It doesn’t remedy the moral and religious liberty objections to this mandate, and

    (2) As a practical matter, it simply doesn’t work.

    On the first point, the Administration says that an employer won’t have to offer contraceptive coverage, but the employer’s insurer will have to offer it “free of charge.” What it doesn’t say is who will pay the premium for those “free” benefits—the employer or the worker? If the insurer simply adds the cost of those benefits to the employer’s total premium, then nothing changes, and the employer is still paying for those services.

    On the second point, under the 1974 Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), employers can design their own “self-insured” or “self-funded” health benefit plans for their workers and don’t need to buy coverage from an insurer. So an employer with a self-insured plan has no “insurer” to provide the required coverage under the President’s “compromise” formulation. Yet Obamacare’s preventive services mandate applies (by amending ERISA) to both health insurers and employer-sponsored health plans, including self-insured ones.

    Currently, 60 percent of workers covered by employer-sponsored health plans are in self-funded plans, some of which are religiously affiliated. For example, most universities, regardless of their religious affiliation are—like most other large employers—probably self-insured.

    So, how will this apply to self-insured employer health plans? Will a self-insured employer be exempt because it doesn’t buy coverage from an insurance company? Or will a self-insured employer have to go buy separate, supplemental coverage for contraception from a commercial insurer (as many now do for dental and vision care plans)?

    Furthermore, to dismiss a possible red herring before it is raised: Yes, many employers with self-insured plans do contract with health insurers to administer their plans for them (that is, to handle enrollment, claims, etc.), but that is both legally and financially a different arrangement. Moreover, there are also many other employers with self-insured plans who contract with a “third-party administrator” (TPA) that is not an insurer. Because those entities are not licensed or regulated as “risk-bearing entities,” they are legally prevented from offering insurance plans without first obtaining regulatory approval as an insurance company. So if the Administration tries to say that, in the case of self-insured plans, the responsibility to provide contraception will fall on the TPA instead, that won’t work either.

    Even before the Administration has filled in these crucial details, its so-called compromise appears to be an unworkable non-solution—just like the rest of Obamacare.

    On Monday, Feb. 13, Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO) will speak at The Heritage Foundation at 11:30 about how Obamacare tramples on religious liberty and freedom generally, and what can be done about it. Join us live or tune in to watch online.

    Posted in Obamacare [slideshow_deploy]

    7 Responses to President Obama's Unworkable Non-Solution on Conscience

    1. Bobbie says:

      Just causing problems. To have sex is a personal matter that takes another gender. How people take care of themselves is their personal responsibility and expense. How come he isn't talking about men and contraception? This is a conversion into sharia law, people!

      there is no solution to a problem that doesn't exist at the federal level. If he really cared about women's health he would give out free feminine products for something that comes on naturally by no choice and no involvement of anyone else. Well? The government has no authority involving itself into personal matters collecting tax payers money along the way inching sharia law into America's!

    2. Jeff, Illinois says:

      So unworkable that 70% of americans support it!

    3. LifeLetterj, Julia says:

      I agree with your analysis that the Obama Administration's compromise is not a compromise at all. However, I don't think he is trying to extricate himself from any sort of political crisis. I believe that President Obama knew from the outset that he would incur the ire of religious leaders but he has never cared one whit about their objections. This latest healthcare mandate is about only one issue–testing the limits of his power. If Obama can get the mainstream media to repeat whatever he says and convince the average citizen that he has offered a compromise solution, then his chances of re-election—and his power—will both increase dramatically. In his first term in office, President Obama has demonstrated masterful skill at talking as though he supports the poor and the middle class while doing the exact opposite. If he wins a second term, he will consolidate his power even further. The lack of a budget, the overspending, the dictatorial policies, and most importantly, the dishonest messages to the public are all a means to an end–total power for Obama and total tyranny for us little people.

    4. This debate if facinating.

    5. Randy - Colorado says:

      In the final analysis, those that pay for insurance (business or personal) will incur the cost to cover sterilization, contraception, and some abortion-inducing drugs since his compromise would increase he cost of insurance. I'm sure he is aware that the cost will be born (if not aborted), by people of all faiths. So the compromise just extends the cost to all of us. By the way, I thought Planned-parenthoodes provided those services free (with a couple of Million dollars support from US (little us through taxation). How many times do we need to pay for this?

    6. Bobbie says:

      for any Catholic to compromise the will of God or have any involvement with businesses that do, is phony! For any person to compromise their religious faith is a phony! For any dictator of any country to call it "compromise" in the first place and threaten force in a second, is a very dangerous person no matter how innocent and dumb he looks and acts. Don't compromise the will of God for man. These authoritative dictators overstepping their boundaries aren't worth it and for the will of God, must be defeated.

      If there's one place that hands out free protection for someone's personal, private business to have sex is more than enough access and more than accommodating. If women are getting diseases from not using birth control, why aren't they focusing on the disease spreader? The male! People can and always have in the past figured it out for themselves handling their personal matters to wherever their personal matters brought them, using their own personal resources of family, friends, charities or churches with no ties unlike unconstitutional government who seems to give away a lot on the surface but pay back to the unconstitutional government is in more ways than one. People from third world countries can teach us all the ways a government will get their pay backs but the government of America has and is using them in a way they can feel "trust" in and "protected" by the American government!!!! History of world leadership shows and as one immigrant professed to me "America is no different than anywhere else!" Really? does every other place give you an inferiority welcome? with money, houses and food? really? Expenses paid because the American government doesn't want you to do the expected things people do to live free? Or get to know Americans for who they really are for yourself and not what you've been wrongly influenced by the despicable, defaming influences of others? Destroying freedom in the process!

    7. Karen -Michigan says:

      Not to mention the fact that pregnancy is not a disease so therefore preventing a pregnancy is not considered as "screening for prevention of disease," which is the definition of Preventive Health Services.

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