The bishops had earlier expressed cautious optimism about the announcement, saying that it was “a first step in the right direction” but that they would have to study it.
In their later statement, they said they still had “serious moral concerns,” noting that the proposal didn’t contain provisions for religious employers who self-insure, meaning the employer takes on the underlying risk of covering employees’ health care.
The bishops also said that the current structure of the proposal meant that if an employee and insurer agreed to add contraception coverage to a health plan, it would still be financed in the same way as the rest of the coverage offered by the employer.
“These changes require careful moral analysis, and moreover, appear subject to some measure of change. But we note at the outset that the lack of clear protection… is unacceptable and must be corrected,” the statement said.
An alliance between the Catholics and Southern Baptists could be potent. Together Catholics and Baptists add up to about 85 million in the US, numbers which could produce a very large set of highly motivated and aware voters.
This Baptist would welcome such an alliance.