Ok, so this morning, Pres Obama stepped back and said that they won't force religious businesses to provide funding for birth control, but that under the Health Care Act, that all women can still receive birth control from their insurance.
So in a nutshell, I have no clue what actually was even proposed or what the hell just happened. I am finding blogs where people are ranting on and on about liberty, but I haven't even seen where the liberty was infringed, nor am I getting what changed today, hell, or even what truly was happening before today.
Can someone at least try to enlighten me?
As I understand it:
The original mandate required religious institutions to provide for things like abortions, contraceptives, and aborificients. Of course exemptions were available but were very narrowly defined.
The revised version, announced earlier today, forces health care providers to provide those services instead of the institution.
The hullabaloo comes in because the health care providers are paid for by the institution even though the institution doesn't directly provide for that stuff. So essentially nothing changed.
The First Amendment objections come in because the government is forcing religious institutions to do things they teach are morally wrong. The government basically becomes the conscience for the religious institution.
I'm just as confused. I think this best describes what is happening. Lets say you go to a restaurant with a large group and you pick up the check. This just happens to be you and your closest diabetic friends and when the check comes you notice several desserts on the bill. You tell the waiter that no one in your party ordered or ate any desserts. The waiter leaves and comes back with a new bill. The new bill has the exact same total as before but the individual items are not listed. The waiter believes he just outsmarted you and this new bill will make everything better.
-I'm still just as lost.
The background: As part of Obamacare, HHS set new rules for insurance companies regarding contraception, sterilization, and so-called emergency contraception. All employer-provided insurance had to cover these with no co-pay. There was an exception for religious employers but it was very narrow, excluding the likes of Catholic universities and hospitals. This was protested as a massive violation of religious freedom, because it forces religious groups to pay for things they consider sinful.
Today's decision broadens the exemptions (though it will still cover many who might object, such as private Catholic-owned businesses) in a way. Now, the insurance company is supposed to provide these items for free, without raising premiums for the religiously-affiliated group purchasing the insurance for their employees. It is, in short, really, really stupid.
In plain english, the government thinks it can force the churches to do things that directly violate their beliefs, because they say so. Whether or not it is "for their own good" or "for the betterment of society" is beside the point...the point is that they're being forced to do it. Forcing someone to purchase a product they don't want is incompatible with personal liberties.
The original mandate required all employers to provide a defined list of services as part of their insurance plan, including not just birth control, but also abortions and even the "morning after" abortion pill.
Churches (not church organizations) could opt out of that particular requirement, if it would violate their beliefs...Catholics, for example, are very strongly against abortion, and not particularly fond of contraception.
But, and here's the bad part, the original exemption required them to comply, anyway, after 1 year. They were given 1 year to come to terms with violating the tenets of their own beliefs. It's roughly akin to mandating that all Jews or Muslims eat pork for breakfast every morning.
Further, it only exempted the church's employees, specifically. The preacher, the church secretary, etc. But, many churches have large extended organizations. The example given is the Notre Dame University, which employs quite a few people, and *all* of them are employees of the Catholic church, but ALL of them would have to be provided with insurance covering procedures that are strongly opposed, for religious reasons, by the organization which employs them.
The latest wrinkle is Obama's "accommodation" (notice how he avoids the term compromise) which shifts the requirement to provide from the employer to another party.
Oh well, at least the church doesn't have to pay to provide the nuns with birth control pills and elective abortions, directly...those horny nuns are such BAAD girls!
It's a wimpy cop-out solution that doesn't actually solve the problem, but which allows him to save face. Or, so he believes.
Ok, but what I don't get is that the provision doesn't force people to use that part of the insurance. It just forces that all of healthcare be provided by an employer.
I honestly don't get how this is any different then paying employees in money. The employees have the money, and it is up to them on how to use it. They can use it for sinful desires or towards the good.
For me, the people trying to limit freedom are the churches. They are trying to take away liberties that the government is saying we have. The churches are saying that they can't trust their own people to follow their rules so they must put every barrier in the way. The government in turn seems to be saying, we want to actually give you the freedom to act on your own.
As far as the cop out, because I can't understand it any better, it sure as hell does sound like one massive cop out.
So government gives us liberties with other people's money?
No, the money the church gives in wages is your money.
Just as the insurance they give is your insurance to use for you.
How you use it should be up to you, not up to the church or the government.
Great, so the government should stay out of this entirely and let the religious employers, their employees, and the insurance companies figure it out. We agree.
Yes and no. Cause it still goes back to the fact that I don't think that health insurance should be a commodity, but rather a public good/service. I think everyone should be provided the chance at health insurance, but it is up to them on when and how they use it.
I don't think the government should force a company to provide insurance, because I don't beleive that ANY company should have to be forced to even consider providing for the health of the employees as one of the benefits/cost to even staying in business and attracting top employees. I believe it is actually a barrier to allowing for greater overall competition in the market.
So I think you're advocating some sort of government funded single payer system, but what does that have to do with the matter at hand? We don't have such a system, and aren't going to in the near future. Employers frequently purchase health insurance for their employees, at varying degrees of coverage, and prospective employees are able to consider these when applying to various jobs (and often to choose between different plans offered by the employer). Obamacare massively increased government regulation of what has to be covered and at what cost, and some of those new government regulations stepped on some toes. Specifically, the toes of those who had crafted the health insurance policies they offered to avoid paying for anything they consider immoral. That's what's going on in the real world, as opposed to whatever hypothetical you think might be better.
Because even if it isn't single payer, the intent is still the same. Everyone who works, should get insurance. If you get insurance, we want to level the playing field on what is or isn't offered.
So then, the mandates are there that the company must give, but the individual still has the freedom to choose to use it or not. There is no liberty lost because the individual isn't forced to break from the religious teachings, only the institution that hires people must provide for it.
It isn't even the church that is being forced, but the church run business. One is free to hire and fire those who do not abide by the church teachings, that was recenlty upheld in court. The business of the hospital is deemed outside of the inner workings of the church and therefor not protected, which I not only whole heartedly agree with, I also still don't see it as any where close to a loss of liberty for any single individual.
Or if you want to get more basic. Liberty doesn't apply to the church nor the company, it applies to the individual. In this case, the individual still retains their liberty to choose as they wish, and there is nothing forced on the actual religion to change how it is practiced by the individual.
I'll make this very simple for you: churches and companies are composed of people. They're groups. People are social. They become part of groups. They do not lose all their rights and liberties when they join groups. An approach to liberty that does not account for the social and associative nature of human beings is utterly out of touch with reality.