“Miracle” Fact-Check at NCR on HHS Mandate

Michael Sean Winters wrote a post today endorsing the revised HHS Mandate rule as a “miracle,” albeit in a qualified way, since he admits he doesn’t know the legal details. Winters was wise to qualify his remarks, because his enthusiasm lead him to several basic factual errors that undermine the heart of his endorsement.

First Winters says that the proposed rule eliminates the four-part religious exemption distinction, separating the church from her hospitals, universities, charities and other ministries. This is simply incorrect. The proposed rule continues to offer an exemption to churches and only churches, not to universities, hospitals, charities and other non-profits. The rule does eliminate the three requirements that churches must be self-focused. But it maintains the fourth requirement that only churches and religious orders are exempt–only a small list of church entities that do not file an IRS form 990 (an arbitrary and narrow category to use for this purpose). The proposed rule fully maintains the distinction that only churches, not their ministries, deserve an exemption.

On this incorrect premise Winters contends that the proposed rule exempts Catholic universities, hospitals, charities and the like. It does not. It requires them to comply with the abortifacient, contraception and sterilization mandate. Instead, the proposed rule, without exempting these entities (while churches are exempt), tells these religious entities that they can engage in an accounting gimmick, by which the insurance company that they pay to insure their employees will provide those employees having that plan with objectionable coverage. The proposed rule simply calls this “separate,” and imagines that abortifacient drugs, surgical sterilization, and contraception don’t actually cost anything. This is a fiction on multiple levels. Insurance companies have up front costs for surgical sterilizations and these other items. And even if they were government subsidized (something Winters called for but the administration failed to do), the religious employer would still be giving its employee a plan that directly causes her to receive coverage it objects to.

Therefore three notable things remain in place under this proposed rule. First, the Obama administration still exempts churches from the mandate, but not the church’s other ministries, refusing to extend that exemption even as far as the Catholic Health Association asked it to do last year. Second, the abortifacient mandate is still, as Democrats for Life’s Kristen Day, Bart Stupak and Thomas Berg said last year, an abortion mandate in ObamaCare, violating Winters’ and the presidents’ and other people’s promises, and it is applicable to thousands of objecting religious Americans. Third, that mandate of abortion and other items is still imposed on religious non-profits who must, under penalty of law, provide employees an insurer that provides them objectionable coverage, under the fiction that it is really someone else doing it. And it is imposed on all other religious Americans without even pretending they don’t have to provide abortion coverage.



27 thoughts on ““Miracle” Fact-Check at NCR on HHS Mandate

  1. Paulspr says:

    My daughter works for a hospital that was sold to a catholic organization. I don’t think she should be denied the right to get birth control pills because the hospital was bought by the Vatican.

    1. Msgr. Charles M. Mangan says:

      J.M.J. 1.) There is no right to do evil; thus, your daughter is not being denied a right. 2.) The Vatican doesn’t buy hospitals.

      1. JC says:

        Furthermore, nobody is denying said daughter the ability to buy birth control pills.

        1. Ann Roth says:

          If she doesn’t like the benefits of her current employer, she can find another job.

      2. Marvin Derks says:

        Can we stop using the word “evil?” There are good decisions and bad decisions and there are good actions and bad actions. Evil implies there’s a devil. Let’s leave the devil concept out of our interactions. When I do a bad act, it’s not the devil making me do it, it’s me doing it.

        1. Chelsi Creech says:

          A bad action is a sin. A sin is the result of evil. We make bad choices, yes, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t evil.

          1. Marvin Derks says:

            A bad action is a breach of one’s own ethics. Our conscience tells us when we have breached. We get that feeling inside that lets us know that we’ve acted against our natural ethical self. Many people refer to this as a sin, which has religious undertones, I prefer to avoid such religious concepts. The concept of evil also has religious undertones. The concept of evil, to me, implies that something outside of myself (the devil) caused me to do this bad act. That philosophy can be used to deny that I was responsible for the bad act. I can simply blame it on the devil. The same can be said for the concept of God. If I do a good act, I may say “I didn’t do it for me, I did it for God.” That leads, again, to self denial which I believe lowers self-esteem.

          2. Joe M says:

            “A bad action is a breach of one’s own ethics.”

            Yes, Marvin. And it shouldn’t be very surprising that “one’s own ethics” on a Catholic place of discussion are defined by Catholic beliefs.

        2. abadilla says:

          Have you ever witnessed what an abortion entails? Have you ever seeing real pictures of aborted children? It’s hard to see those horrors and not call them evils.
          BTW, we DO believe Satan does exist. That’s why we have exorcisms in our Church.
          Stealing your groceries is “bad”, killing a person with willful intent is evil.

          1. Marvin Derks says:

            I disagree.

          2. abadilla says:

            “I disagree,” What a profound answer. You disagree on what and “why.”

          3. Marvin Derks says:

            I disagree with your statements because I find them to be incorrect.

          4. abadilla says:

            O.K. and how are they “incorrect.” And, which statement is incorrect? All? Some? All? and “why?”

          5. Marvin Derks says:

            It doesn’t really matter. You and I disagree. There’s really no need to keep going round and round on these issues.

          6. abadilla says:

            “You and I disagree.” Correct, but where would dialogue be without disagreement?

          7. Marvin Derks says:

            I think dialogue without disagreement is considered conversation, a very natural way for humans to connect and share their thoughts, their dreams, their goals, etc.

          8. abadilla says:

            You have a point,

          9. Joe M says:

            Your entry into this conversation was a statement of disagreement.

            Disagreeing and then objecting to disagreement is a natural way for humans to behave hypocritically.

          10. Joe M says:

            You joined the conversation. You seem to want to make statements. But, are suddenly uncomfortable when confronted with disagreement.

          11. abadilla says:

            And what does “I disagree” means. I teach high school kids, can you imagine a kid telling me on a paper, “I disagree,” without in any way explaining what he means? Can you say ZERO?

        3. Joe M says:

          I’m not sure if you noticed Marvin. But, this is a Catholic site.

    2. mcford1 says:

      Paulspr is such a joke. In many other posts he claims to be Catholic, yet then he says stuff like “the hospital was bought by the Vatican.” Read any Jack Chick lately, Paulspr? or is that too high-brow for you?

      1. Paulspr says:

        I’m a conservative guy at heart. Stay out of my business and I will stay out of yours. Unfortunately, the Catholic Church seems to want to stick its nose in everyone else’s business and tell them how to run their lives.

        1. abadilla says:

          “I’m a conservative guy at heart.”

    3. abadilla says:

      Because a hospital is bought by a Catholic institution, why do you presume it was bought by the Vatican? See, this is where you continue to show your ignorance of how the Catholic Church works. The Vatican is in Rome and I know of no U.S. Catholic institution bought by Rome.
      If your daughter wants contraceptives, 1. You should know that is wrong and as his father it is your duty to tell her so. 2. If she still wants contraception, she does not have to get it from a Catholic institution anymore than a Jew who likes meat can demand that a kosher Jewish institution provide the meat for him or her.

    4. Paul Sadek says:

      I believe that you are probably more intelligent, Paulspr, than to believe that all Catholic organizations are civil corporate subsidiaries of the Vatican. But to expand a touch on Msgr. Mangan’s remark, just who is denying her the right to birth control pills? Refusing to pay for them simply does not equate to denying anyone a right to have them.

    5. Joe M says:

      She’s not denied the right to get birth control pills. She can buy them like Americans have been doing for 20+ years.

      The hospital doesn’t provide her with bananas, scarves, sun-screen or walkie-talkies either. But, that doesn’t mean that her right to get those items has been denied.

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