health care reform
In case you missed it last Friday, the Obama administration quietly issued a proposed update to regulations coming out of the Affordable Care Act, popularly known as "Obamacare." The verbiage is a bit dense, but here's the upshot: the ACA requires health plans to provide contraceptive coverage to all insured members. Some religious organizations and even a few for-profit companies objected to this requirement, citing religious beliefs.
I've so far declined to comment on Wheaton College's decision to join the election-year culture war skirmish du jour by suing the feds for stomping all over its religious freedom requiring insurers to cover basic women's health needs while allowing faith-based employers to themselves stay out of it. I was sad but not surprised to learn of this move. Wheaton takes it as not only one legitimate view but an article of evangelical conviction that the morning after pill is unacceptable? Sure, okay. I disagree with my alma mater, but it's hardly the first time.
With the Affordable Care Act upheld by the Supreme Court, Americans have yet another chance to learn about what the law actually contains.
Jonathan Chait is exactly right about the unspoken conservative position on health-care reform: Opponents of the law have endlessly invoked “socialism.” Nothing in the Affordable Care Act or any part of President Obama’s challenges the basic dynamics of market capitalism. All sides accept that some of us should continue to enjoy vastly greater comforts and pleasures than others. If you don’t work as hard as Mitt Romney has, or were born less smart, or to worse parents, or enjoyed worse schools, or invested your skills in an industry that collapsed, or suffered any other misfortune, then you will be punished for this. Your television may be low-definition, or you might not be able to heat or cool your home as comfortably as you would like; you may clothe your children in discarded garments from the Salvation Army.
First the bishops sought an expanded exemption. Now they claim the contraception mandate itself violates religious liberty. It doesn't.
In a response to complaints from Catholic leaders, last week the Obama administration revised its rule requiring some religious institutions to include birth control in health insurance. The new stance was welcomed by some Catholic organizations, including the Catholic Health Association but was firmly rejected by the Catholic bishops--who in doing so shifted the ground of their own argument.
Are Protestants more in line with the Catholic bishops on contraception than Catholics are? Or is it just that there's some correlation between being Protestant and being politically inclined to oppose most any proposal that starts with "Employers should be required..."?
We disagree with the Catholic bishops' stance on birth control. Nevertheless, we think HHS should offer a broader religious exemption.