Punting on the HHS Mandate & Campaign 2012

James Capretta over at NRO has a good piece on the latest “accommodation” on the HHS Mandate. National Catholic Reporter has an incredibly biased report, but they offer links to the relevant documents at the end of the article.

But I can’t pass up the opportunity to point out the bias from a so-called Catholic outlet.

According to NCR:

Taking a conciliatory tone and asking for a wide range of public comment, the Obama administration announced this afternoon new accommodations on a controversial mandate requiring contraceptive coverage in health care plans.

There’s nothing conciliatory about this. They’re just punting until after the election so that this won’t be an election issue and President Obama can keep his majority Catholic vote while wooing single women who won’t vote unless they’re worried about something really important like their birth control.

[In the meantime, there's apparently nothing to accommodate individual business owners who for reasons of conscience or religion might not want to be forced to buy insurance that covers contraception.]

Here’s another messaging attempt:

On Wednesday, the leadership of the U.S. bishops’ conference dialed back its vehement opposition to the Obama administration with a statement released at the end of a two-day meeting of the bishops’ administrative committee.

“Dialed back”? If the Bishops were going to “dial back” they would not have issued the very statement in question, which included language like, “Government has no place defining religion and religious ministry.” That doesn’t sound dialed back to me, nor does the rest of the document.

But here’s the kicker in the NCR article:

News of the changes came as a senior White House official told NCR in an afternoon phone interview unrelated to the new proposed rules for the contraceptive mandate that while the Obama administration and Catholic leaders may have “some points of disagreement” over a number of concerns, the president has “dramatically expanded” the federal government’s connection with Catholic organizations.

Yes, NCR has every right to be talking with the White House and vice versa. But to present the story according to the White House talking points violates every principle of ethical journalism.

Capretta’s opinion piece is closer to journalism than that of NCR, a Catholic publication or Reuters, an official news outlet.

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11 thoughts on “Punting on the HHS Mandate & Campaign 2012

  1. [...] “They’re just punting until after the election so that this won’t be an election issue and President Obama can keep his majority Catholic vote while wooing single women who won’t vote unless they’re worried about something really important like their birth control,” she writes on her blog. [...]

  2. Lisa says:

    @PLank: Where’s the water carrying? I must have missed something. What I see here is legitimate criticism of the Obama Administration’s attack on the Catholic faith. I see nothing to make me think Catholic Vote is endorsing anyone. All in all, anyone would be better than Obama at this point, but that’s not the point…get it?

    As a Catholic woman, I find it offensive for a man to tell me that I’m broken because of my fertility…the simple fact that I’m a woman. Obama thinks that I must need a pill or surgery to make me healthy and whole. The men who are respecting us as women are the bishops, while the NCR slobber all over the president in their attempt to curry favor.

    1. Plank says:

      I wish what you said is true. I wholeheartedly oppose the HHS mandate. The main issue I have is that CatholicVote ignores issues that don’t align with Neo-con politics and are extremely hypocritical and divisive with their rhetoric. Case in point: http://www.catholicvote.org/discuss/index.php?p=25139

  3. Plank says:

    Does CatholicVote fall into your category of “so-called Catholic outlet(s)?” Are you going to try to claim that schilling for Santorum’s record on torture, war, the death penalty, and civil liberties isn’t just right wing propaganda? You aren’t the slightest bit interested in defending the faith. I’ll grant you that the Republican’s are marginally less evil than the Democrats but that’s no justification for carrying their water.

  4. keith says:

    If Catholics don’t have to pay for women’s contraceptives, should Jehovah’s witnesses not have to pay for employees wanting blood transfusions or organ transplant? Should Hindus or Buddhists not pay for medicines that are animal based/produced, or Muslims for medicines that are alcohol or meat-based? Should Pentecostal or Christian Scientics employers not pay for any health insurance at all, instead opting instead to leave a vial of oil for anointing in the lunchroom? Should Christian evangelical employers not pay for employees benefitting from stem-cell transplants?

    And besides the irrationality of employer “conscience” deciding what is appropriate medical care for employees not of their faith, what happens when a Catholic institution is sold to a Muslim? Does everybody’s health-care plan change, or are employees grandfathered in based on their choice of faith as of the time they first purchased insurance through their employer?

    1. Joe M says:

      keith. The answer to most of your questions is “no”. This only underscores the reason why Obamacare is horrible policy. Employers should not be forced to pay for health care at all. Let alone someones idea of what a good policy is. — Employees are not forced to work for any employer. If they don’t like the benefits, pay, perks, options, etc. being offered, they can choose to work somewhere else. It’s called liberty.

  5. slopoke says:

    So-called Catholic outlet? Can you say “extremist right wing Catholics”? My guess is that you also support the “right” of businesses not to have to buy in to *any* kind of health care coverage for their employees. If you don’t feel that way, no doubt a lot of Catholics round these parts will consider you a so-called Catholic, too.

    1. Beth says:

      What are you basing this angry, loaded comment on? It is typical for someone on the left to address an issue by bringing up another issue in such a way as to paint the person they are arguing with as intolerant and heartless. That is intellectually lazy and dishonest.

      Catholics have said over and over again that we do not have an issue with employers paying for health coverage as long as the treatments they are paying for do not violate their conscience. Catholicism is not relative, so the list of medications and procedures and the circumstances in which they are and are not allowed within the teachings of the church are pretty cut and dry. All we ask is that the government uphold the Constitution by allowing us to follow our consciences based on our religious doctrine, in other words we want freedom to practice our religion.

      Paying for other people’s birth control is not necessary for their rights to be protected, free birth control is not a right. However, being forced to pay for other people’s birth control does violate MY rights, my right to religious freedom.

    2. Vidman says:

      Since when is it the responsibility of a business to provide you with health benefits? You have no right to force a business to spend their money for your benefit. You have a right to be paid for the work you do. That is why it is called ‘fringe benefits.’ You speak the language of looters and second-raters.

      1. Cathvoteman says:

        You tell her, Vidman. Beth seems to be in favor of socialized medicine. A true Catholic would not say that “Catholics have said over and over again that we do not have an issue with employers paying for health coverage as long as the treatments they are paying for do not violate their conscience. She must be one of those so-called Catholics.

  6. Paul C says:

    Funny how the administration sets its priorities. Condoms are free but bandaids cost money. Elective sterilization operations are free but lifesaving heart surgery costs money. Drugs to induce abortions or eliminate a women’s fertility are free, but drugs like insulin or statins or those to remedy hypertension cost money. In every case, services that limit life are fully subsidized, while those that preserve life are not. That says a lot about the Obama administration’s world view

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