The Sandra Fluke rules


Opt-Out of Contraception Rule Proposed

By Louise Radnofsky

WASHINGTON—The Obama administration on Friday outlined options for letting religious universities, hospitals and charities opt out of the contraception requirements in the 2010 health-care law.

The proposals include a plan to create separate health-insurance policies for contraception coverage for the employees of certain religious organizations. These policies would be funded by insurance companies.

The administration said that when the employer self-insures, meaning they act as insurance companies by assuming the full responsibility for the health costs of their workers, then the policies would be funded by fees on insurance policies sold to participants in a new federally run health-insurance exchange starting in 2014.

The White House has been trying for more than a year to find a compromise to a standoff with religious groups over requirements in the health law that most employers fully cover birth control in their workers’ insurance plans.

More at the link.

Your Editor wonders how this could work. It removes the financial costs to the religious organizations for paying for the additional contraceptive coverage, but when I read, “These policies would be funded by insurance companies,” I see a provision which means that other people would have to pay higher premiums to exempt the religious organizations from having to pay for contraceptive coverage; the insurance companies would not simply absorb these costs, but would have to pass them on to their other customers. The simpler thing to do would be to leave contraceptive coverage alone: companies could choose whether to provide contraception coverage, just like they could before — apparently without threatening the survival of the Republic — and some would, while others would not.

Contraception is just plain not expensive in this country; during the debates over the lovely Miss Fluke’s testimony, it was noted that the local Target pharmacy sold oral contraceptives to people who did not have insurance coverage for them for a whopping $9 a month.1 Condoms are cheap, and sold in all kinds of places across the country. Other forms of contraception are readily available, and mostly inexpensive. It’s simply neither difficult nor expensive to purchase artificial contraception in this country.

There is no great economic reason why artificial contraception must be a completely covered, no co-pay item under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act; it’s inexpensive and widely available. There is, however, a political reason: our friends on the left want to use this to push against institutions like the Catholic Church (which is on their side on most issues), and they want to include abortifacient coverage as something acceptable and normal. The status quo ante was perfectly acceptable, from an economic and religious liberty perspective, but it was not acceptable to the far left. And freedom of conscience and religious liberty are anathema to the left: their goals are not liberty, but power.
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