President Obama has offered a so-called compromise on the HHS Mandate. Instead of forcing Catholic institutions to pay for insurance that covers contraceptives, insurance providers will be forced to cover contraception. Yep, same situation, just a different way of keeping books on it. Hmmm, when Enron was exposed, we called it accounting fraud, among other things. Bernie Madoff’s investment practices were denounced as a Ponzi scheme. But when the funny math is proposed by the White House, we call it a compromise. (h/t Josh Mercer/Brian Burch)
The White House’s own spin on the “compromise” is that it will improve access to contraception. So this is all about more contraception, not more conscience. Don’t even get me started on the comments about women’s health:
Covering contraception is cost neutral for insurance companies since it saves money by keeping women healthy and preventing spending on other health services. The President said that nearly 99 percent of all women have relied on contraception at some point in their lives, but more than half of women between the ages of 18 and 34 have struggled to afford it.
Actually, now that I’m on it, I have one response: “Prove it.” Since the conversation about the link between breast cancer and hormonal contraceptives isn’t even allowed to happen, how do we know that hormonal birth control isn’t in fact costing insurance providers more money in undesired side effects? – Not to mention the false sense of security that women can experience when using contraceptives (most of those available) which don’t protect against STDs/STIs. And how do we know that women can’t afford contraception or co-pays for it? Really? As I’ve written before, access to contraception is not the problem. Personal responsibility is.
The HHS mandate has nothing to do with women’s health per se. It’s about mandating ideologies and beliefs regardless of one’s personal convictions.
Additionally, I would add that as a Catholic who is also a business owner, this conversation has to go well beyond Catholic institutions per se. Business owners, regardless of their religious beliefs, ought to be able to provide ethical insurance coverage that doesn’t compromise their freedom of conscience. That freedom is already denied in some states…like Washington.
The HHS debate is far from over. But two things have to be kept in mind:
1. Bad bookkeeping is just fraud; it’s not a compromise.
2. This mandate is about much more than Catholic institutions; it’s about whether individuals can conduct their businesses in accord with their consciences.
Post by Brian Burch featuring a letter by leading Catholic intellectuals who oppose the compromise.
And, just in case you think we’re blowing the compromise out of proportion, here are Catholics who take the lead in spinning outside of the gym. The only victory here is for those who would squash the rights of conscience of others.