President Gives Religious Groups an Out

On the contraception coverage front, I think this is fair without giving away the store. Health insurance companies have to cover contraception regardless of whether a religious organization buys the contraception coverage:

WASHINGTON -- Faced with increasing pressure from religious groups and Catholic lawmakers in both parties over the new federal requirement for birth control coverage, the Obama administration is planning to announce an "accommodation" on Friday aimed at allaying some of the concerns of faith-driven employers. [...]

Under the new language, Jarrett said, religious institutions would still be required to cover contraception as part of any health care plan they offer to their employees. But they also will be offered a veritable opt-out clause. If they determine that the requirement violates their religious sensibilities, the burden would then fall on the insurance company to cover the cost.

That insurance company would be required to inform the recipient of their benefits package in addition to paying for the contraception.

Very smart and everyone is covered. But I don't expect the religious right to be satisfied.

  • Dan_in_DE

    As a quote-unquote militant atheist, I’m just fine with this. By the way, the wingnuts that are placated by this are a bunch of suckers. They should realize that insurance companies don’t dick around, and certainly aren’t just going to eat a loss on birth control for all religious institutions. They’ll simply jack up the rates on all institutional plans being purchased by religious organisations. Done, and done. It’s conscientious objection in name only.

  • KQµårk™

    Another masterful piece of political jujitsu by the president. The bottom line is that women will get the birth control they need at no additional cost. It’s really barely a compromise because women’s health and cost were not compromised at all. The precedent was the Federal Employees have the same system where their HC plans do not pay more for contraception. The truth is HC insurance companies found out the SAVE money by providing free contraception.

  • Christine Mitchell

    He really shouldn’t have let that one pass in the first place. He needs to keep church & state separate. He knows constitutional law well enough to not have made that blunder.

    • stacib23

      There was no infringement upon the constitution. As noted by i_a_c above:

      In fact, the wingers get it backwards: the First Amendment says that Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, not that religious organizations are free to do whatever they want outside the reach of government.

    • i_a_c

      Following up on what staci wrote, the Free Exercise Clause Wikipedia article is worth a look.

  • ArrogantDemon

    Makes the GOP & Bishops look like god damn fools, activated the female base even more, and he brought you motherfuckers some god damn donuts…..

    Your welcome

  • Ned F

    Since the Republicans and the right have shown their support for Catholic doctrine, they’ll now get behind the rest of the Catholic social agenda like immigration reform, unemployment benefits, world peace, poverty and abolishing the death penalty, right?

  • Miranda

    I would have thought the Catholic Bishops knew the story of “Daniel in the Lion’s Den”…apparently not.

  • JWheels

    Of course the religious right won’t be satisfied, but at least their reaction will further expose them as the stubborn, intransigent pricks that they all are. One thing I have noticed that I’ve come to enjoy about president Obama is he seems to be very good at taking Republican issues away from them and turning them around against them.

  • gescove

    I groaned when I first saw headlines like “administration tweaks rule” and “Obama offers compromise”. Oh Noes! But upon further reading, I’m happy to say “Suck it, John Boehner”.

  • Michael Norris

    The religious right will not be satisfied because the real issue for them is a war on women as Ashby pointed out. The way right Republicans won’t be satisfied because it is the only issue they have left. They no longer have the economy (it is getting much better), they don’t have the tax issues (Taxes are lower under Obama than they have been since the Reagan Administration) and they don’t have unemployment. They don’t have that because it is getting better and the Republicans know that the Republicans have been a majority in the house now for fourteen months and they don’t have a damn thing to show for it in terms of increasing jobs. So they have to go for the family values crap they sling around. Frothy Santorum is now what’s hot and he is the guy who can lead them on this their new chosen path.

    But just one thing: Frothy and the American bishops had better cool it on using words like “immoral” and “unethical” before somebody points out the morality of raping and molesting children for twenty years and then covering up those issues and protecting the perps involved. So, not so fast Frothy with all that talk about what is moral and ethical where religious freedom is concerned. This will play for a while, and then people are going to start asking hard questions which you and the American bishops just don’t have an answer for.

  • nicole

    as seen on twitter: “Obama was born to force threads through the eye of a needle.”

  • Razor

    Once again, we have to reason with the unreasonable.

  • JMAshby

    The Right has already shown their cards. This really had nothing to do with religious freedom. It’s all about the War on Women.

    • i_a_c

      You’re right Ashby, it never had anything to do with religious freedom. In fact, the wingers get it backwards: the First Amendment says that Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, not that religious organizations are free to do whatever they want outside the reach of government. It never prohibited the free exercise of religion, either. As far as I can tell, people are still free to decide whether they want to use birth control or not.

    • muselet

      You’re right that the objections never were about religious liberty, but I see the Right waging a War on Sex. Women are just collateral damage.


  • i_a_c

    According to some of what I’ve read, nuns and Catholic hospitals are happy with this compromise, but the bishops won’t be. They and the wingers will be upset no matter what, so they’re exposed as extremist. I wonder what Romney will have to say about this.