President Obama announced Friday, February 1 that restrictions on the contraceptive mandate in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) would be loosened to exempt more faith-based employers. But as Inside Bay Area reported Saturday, there are still a lot of parties fighting the mandate.
Under the original rule, only those religious groups that primarily employ and serve people of their own faith—such as Christian churches—were exempt. Church-affiliated universities, Catholic Charities and hospitals had to comply. Now their insurer—reimbursed by the government—picks up the tab so they do not pay into a anything against their views.
The Washington Times reported Friday that objecting organizations that “self-insure...would work with an insurer to arrange no-cost contraceptive coverage through separate individual health insurance policies.”
Sarah Lipton-Lubet of the American Civil Liberties Union said the changes appear to still allow for their goal of seamless coverage to be met. When one side is completely okay with a compromise, not much was given up. Some Christian groups such as the National Association of Evangelicals and the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty.
"The Obama administration should have done the right thing and dropped the contraception mandate, or at least should have exempted all religious organizations," said Leith Anderson, the association's president.
But it is important to remember that this bill passed and the 2012 election was somewhat of a mandate because the opposition made promises to repeal it. President Obama found a few ways to reduce the number of employers forced to cover something that goes against their faith. It is similar to your boss giving you a nickel raise outside of your annual review—it does not amount to much but is better than nothing and was not required.
In reality, those who fought to prevent single payer coverage are lying in a bed they made. There is no precedent enabling for-profit companies to opt out. Can we opt out of any of our tax money going for programs we object to? Most of them wanted coverage to remain through private insurance companies, therefore private employers must offer coverage they may object to.
Now there will still be moral conflicts, but fewer of them.