Share This Page

Obama's shell game

| Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Churches, their nonprofit affiliates and religiously principled for-profit business owners should stand firm against the Obama administration's latest “compromise” on contraception and employee health insurance.

Supposedly offering employers a way to avoid paying for contraception while guaranteeing it to workers without out-of-pocket cost, the White House now says health plans can exclude such coverage if workers are directed to separate policies covering contraception. But only nonprofit employers would be able to do so — and there would be nothing genuinely “free” about it.

The federal government would credit insurers for bearing those separate policies' upfront costs by reducing a user fee they must pay to do business through the health-insurance exchange it will begin operating in 2014. But health-insurance ratepayers and taxpayers ultimately will bear the additional costs.

This “compromise” is a shyster's shell game. It does nothing for for-profit employers. Government chooses which employers enjoy First Amendment protection and which don't. It raises serious questions about its constitutionality. And in practical terms, it's more an accounting gimmick than a real exception for nonprofit employers.

Still gutting religious liberty and freedom of conscience, this “compromise,” compared to previous Obama administration attempts to mollify opponents regarding contraception, is a bogus distinction without a difference. Thus, those opponents have every reason to keep fighting.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.