Funny Math + Bad Bookkeeping= Bad Business

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.

More info:

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.



17 thoughts on “Funny Math + Bad Bookkeeping= Bad Business

  1. ckelly says:

    what if the owners of the insurance company are catholic– and so on and so on…

  2. Bern says:

    Pia, a couple of observations: During my business career of 45 years I have always had very good employer-provided health insurance coverage. I have worked 14 yrs for my present employer and contribute 25% to the total monthly premium. That comes to about $125 per month for me (tax-sheltered, of course. I am single, 69 years old). The company I work for is high-end financial services, very profitable, about 40 people. That said, in an effort to hold down premium costs, we have a plan that doesn’t pay for everything. For example, my annual physical in December came to about $700 but the insurance paid only $400, leaving me to pay $300. Not to worry, our company has a separate health reimbursement plan (tax-sheltered) that reimburses me for up to $2000 in uninsured out-of-pocket costs per year. Our insurance plan has, of course, a drug component with co-pays. And, do you know what I found out today on the internet? Having such an attached drug plan, then the provision of contraception coverage for women is mandatory and has been for many years, per the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Yes, I am not in favor of mandating contraception/abortifacient medications for those organizations who are opposed to it, but, really, this has been going for many years in the public/private sector. Why is this an issue now? Can we say, “Asleep at the Wheel”?

    1. Bruce in Kansas says:

      @ Bern: In other words, “We’ve been burning a pinch of incense to Caesar’s gods for years. Why is this a problem know?”

  3. tz1 says:

    The bishops haven’t spoken out against the fraud and usury in the mortgages, securities, and the bailouts for the billionaires that caused our current depression. Apparently ledgerdemain doesn’t cause scandal. But then, the compromise ought to be acceptable.

  4. Bob Foster says:

    The bishops are fools if they accept this “compromise” based only on the president’s word. They accepted a compromise when the bill originally passed and we can all see how far that got us. After the election, the “compromise” will be very quickly forgotten and then revoked! We can settle for nothing less than a bill passed by Congress and signed by the President guaranteeing the rights of religious freedom and conscience.

  5. Josie says:

    Why can’t you just be concerned with what you do to your own body, and leave the rest of us to freely choose what we want to do to our own bodies? Why do you care so much that others who don’t share your own beliefs feel it’s just fine to use contraception? Why do you have such a big problem making this available to employees who don’t have the same “moral objections” that you’re trying to force on them? Why are you not outraged that you have to pay for drugs like Viagara? Clearly god doesn’t want a guy with ED to be having sex if he’s not able to get it up without help. Fine, you don’t like contraception. Don’t use it. Your right to act on your religious beliefs is not absolute; it’s weighed against the rights that your actions would deny to others.

    1. Everett says:

      This isn’t us interfering with your body. This is you interfering with how we spend our money. If you want contraception or sterilization, go pay for it yourself. Don’t force me to pay for it for you.

    2. Julie T. says:

      Josie, neither the Catholic Church nor any Catholic person is trying to deprive you of contraceptives. However, the “right” to free-to-you-provided-by-others contraceptive pills, day-after abortion pills, and sterilization is not a right guaranteed by the United States Constitution. The ability to practice one’s religious convictions without coercion and interference from the state IS guaranteed by that same constitution. This is a First Amendment issue, period.

    3. Joe M says:

      Josie. Why can’t you just spend your own money on the things you want to do to your body and leave the rest of us to spend our money on something else?

    4. Bruce in Kansas says:

      @ Josie: You are looking at the situation completely upside-down. It is the state, not the Church that took action – requiring the Church to participate in what it has constantly taught for centuries a grave evil. Whether you agree with the theology is not the point. The right of the state here is not absolute. Why are government policymakers getting actively involved with countering the Catholic Church’s moral teachings on the evil of thwarting the live-giving aspect of marital love? Why does the government care so much that the Catholic Church doesn’t share its position and believes it’s evil to use contraception? Why doesn’t the government simply allow the Catholic Church to continue to follow its beliefs? The Quakers are allowed to avoid service in the military. Seventh Day Adventists are not required to perform organ transplants or blood transfusions. Why poke the Catholic Church on this?

  6. Fr Bill Kuchinsky says:

    listening to the news it looks like this “sleight of hand” (or funny math) is working: CHA (Catholic Health Association) applauds this “compromise” (that was the lead on the local news tonight).
    hmmm, CHA, didn’t they help to get us in this mess to begin with?

    1. Kyle says:

      Yes indeed, CHA helped get us in this mess in the first place. Sister Carol Keehan is the big name I’ve been hearing all day on the mainstream news. The news report says, “Some Catholic leaders are pleased with the accomodation”. The only leader they can site is Carol Keehan. It seems to me that Sister Keehan is very beholden to Barack Obama and Democrats. I thought her vows included obedience to the Church, not to the Democrat Party and Obama.

      1. Sullibe says:

        Sr. Keenan will sell out the Church in order to save the hospitals (she doesn’t care if they’re Catholic).

    2. Fr Bill Kuchinsky says:

      A news release by Sr. C. Keehan from the CHA website: “Catholic Health Association is Very Pleased with Today’s White House Resolution that Protects Religious Liberty and Conscience Rights”

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