Republicans and Catholics Not Satisfied

President Obama came out yesterday with a compromise to the requirement that nonprofit institutions provide contraception coverage. Now employees of religiously affiliated colleges, universities, and hospitals who do not wish to provide birth control can receive contraception coverage at no additional cost directly from the insurer. This seems to be a win for both sides. Catholic run nonprofits get their way and will not have to go against their beliefs and the women who are employed will have access to affordable contraception. 

Not so fast. Republicans and some conservative Catholic groups are not satisfied with this. They are now continuing to use their claim of “religious persecution” to deny women access to preventive health services by proposing an amendment that would permit ANY employer or insurance plan to exclude any health service, no matter how essential, from coverage if they morally object to it. Next week Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) is expected to offer the following amendment:     

“(A) FOR HEALTH PLANS. — A health plan shall not be considered to have failed to provide the essential health benefits package described in subsection (a) (or preventive health services described in section 2713 of the Public Health Services Act), to fail to be a qualified health plan, or to fail to fulfill any other requirement under this title on the basis that it declines to provide coverage of specific items or services because — 

“(i) providing coverage (or, in the case of a sponsor of a group health plan, paying for coverage) of such specific items or services is contrary to the religious beliefs or moral convictions of the sponsor, issuer, or other entity offering the plan; or 

“(ii) such coverage (in the case of individual coverage) is contrary to the religious beliefs or moral convictions of the purchaser or beneficiary of the coverage

This would allow an insurer or an employer to claim a moral or religious objection to covering HIV/AIDS screenings, Type 2 Diabetes treatments, cancer tests or anything else they deem inappropriate or the result of an unhealthy or immoral lifestyle. Similarly, a health plan could refuse to cover mental health care on the grounds that the plan believes that psychiatric problems should be treated with prayer. 

Today I read an op-ed by Art Caplan where he creates a scenerio which shows just how dangerous it is to let any organization deny health coverage based on their faith or morality. It demonstrates the dangerous game Catholics are playing with a person’s access to healthcare. 

Imagine that the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses, which is based in Brooklyn, NY, creates a printing company that happily employs people from many faiths and cultural backgrounds. The company’s sole task is to print all the Witness literature that its followers distribute door-to-door all over the world. That literature clearly states the Jehovah’s Witnesses adamant opposition to blood transfusion. Then the federal government then issues a national set of minimal standards which all companies operating as public entities must provide as part of the health insurance coverage they offer. 

The Governing Body is outraged because on that list are blood transfusions. They issue a statement accusing the President of trying to crush religious liberty by forcing their printing company, which employs many non-Jehovah’s witnesses, to cover transfusions.  

I must wonder if the above scenario did come to pass would lawmakers come out en masse decrying the overreach of government. How did the imposition of an insurance mandate on companies operating in the public sphere become an act of religious intolerance? Do those who work in Catholic run companies, hospitals, nursing homes or hospices but do not follow the teachings of the Catholic Church have rights? 

With the above amendment being proposed, the type of insurance coverage that would be available to us would be subject to our employers moral and religious beliefs. In essence, our employers would get to decide what healthcare they deem morally appropriate to provide.


11 responses to “Republicans and Catholics Not Satisfied

  1. Many religious beliefs over the years have diminished over time because they usually don’t stand up to changes in society. The church is bad about locking into views they have held for centuries without thoroughly researching them to see if the strict interpretation they have held on to all these years have merit and need to be changed.

    But faith based views often are locked into the dilemma that claims such views are the “word of God” when really it was a human decision to code many of the views the church holds today as they do and insisting that they were “inspired” by the spirit of God.

    Only when evidence is so compelling do they consider changing their stand as they recently acknowledged that the earth is NOT the center of the universe.

    The pill as a form of contraception in today’s church may not be legitimate for women until 2200, if the human race survives that long but our great, great ,great grandchildren have at least one thing to look forward to then.

    • But faith based views often are locked into the dilemma that claims such views are the “word of God” when really it was a human decision

      It is concerning especially with Catholicism that their religious doctrine is interpreted by men. I believe that attributes to their disconnect with their followers. They are holding onto old beliefs that are in some cases impossible to follow. In this particular case, their negative view of contraception, in this day and age it would be detrimental in so many ways (financially/population wise) if we all decided to not utilize birth control and family planning. The fact that they refuse to acknowledge this is astounding.

  2. What baffles me about this is that currently 28 states have laws in place that say essentially the same thing. The Catholic-run organizations still work there, and little is heard about the issue. Yet when the issue is applied nationally, in an attempt to save human lives (as these issues are not just pregnancy related, but health related to the woman), the Church is up in arms.

    The question I really want to know is, was this spearheaded by the Church, with the GOP riding coat tails, or did the GOP turn this into a bigger issue, with the Church riding the GOP’s coattails for the fund-raising and donations boost that comes with any controversial issue in America? That will tell you more about what the core problem is with the issue, than examining the rhetoric and positions.

    • In my opinion GOP just wanted to turn this into a big issue. It’s right out of their playbook. If you look back at their previous campaigns, they always find some social issue to use, i.e., gay marriage, abortion, so they can enrage their base about those “liberals” and motivate them to turn out on election day. If their base would use their brains for once and stop getting distracted by social issues and just focus on GOP’s economic policies they would realize GOP is not working for them but actually against.

      • So you’re saying that the issue is a politically motivated one, that happens to bring religion into the equation. Perhaps the focus should be on the GOP attack machine, rather than the Catholic Church. They appear to be a pawn in this move, rather than the King calling the shots.

        • I am saying for the GOP only it is politically motivated. However, I think it would be a mistake to not focus on the reasons behind the church’s reason to comply with the new mandate. It affects millions of women who just because of their employer are being forced to pay out of their own pocket for medical treatment. To ignore that would be wrong.

          • It IS politically motivated, and the catholic church is behind the fake issue, pushing the GOPretenders agenda, willingly. This mandate has been in place since the Affordable Health Care Act was signed into law, and as Ms. Wade pointed out, 28 states already adhere to the mandate, including the catholic facilities in those 28 states. This bull shit issue is clearly a pre-election fiasco by both the GOPretenders and the catholic church.

  3. Maybe catholics should be more concerned about the rampant pedophilia in the roman catholic church before being concerned with it’s female members contraception issues?

  4. A a Catholic, I reject both Santorum and Gingrich. A man in a cassock does not always shine near as bright as my man Barack Obama. I firmly believe that relligions need to stick to what they were sent here for and stay out of politics. I equally reject Mormons, Baptist, Evangelicals who have become worshipers of that golden idol. They cater to their highest tithers.

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