The PJ Tatler

Obama's Solution for the HHS Abortifacient Mandate: Magic!

The Obama government, on the Friday before the Super Bowl, rolled out yet another take on its command to private companies and insurance carriers to provide contraceptives free of charge to women.

Nothing is free. Someone has to make the stuff, so someone has to pay for it.

Churches and religious groups objected to the command, as it violates their right of conscience, and the Obama government has responded with some very narrow exceptions, and waged lawfare to defend against others. So far its record fighting Christians who own businesses and object to the command is 10 losses to four wins, yet it fights on.

The new accommodation was supposed to fix things. Or muddy them. The latter has been achieved.

The Baptist Press takes a look and finds that even pro-life groups are not sufficiently religious to get out of the command that they pay for abortifacients.

“Religious non-profits will, in fact, be forced to provide an insurance plan with a provider that gives the religious group’s employees abortion-pill coverage in direct connection with that plan, the coverage is definitely not free, and the coverage is imposed ‘automatically’ even against the objection of many employees who don’t want free abortion-pill coverage for themselves or their daughters,” Bowman said.

To qualify for the proposal, an organization must self-certify that it “holds itself out as a religious organization,” according to HHS. Ironically that could mean that many of the nation’s leading pro-life organizations — despite being non-profits — won’t qualify for the accommodation because they’re technically not religious organizations.

And to add to that, Gabriel Malor takes a look a the means by which this “free” stuff actually gets paid for.

Quite literally, the Obama Administration’s rule contemplates that no one will have to pay for this morally ambiguous healthcare. Let me explain.

The Obama Administration accomplished this feat of financial witchery by making two magical claims. First, it declares that for insured group health plans, the cost of contraception and abortifacient coverage with be “cost neutral, and may result in cost savings” once all other benefits are considered. (Pardon me for a minute while I flash back to Obama making the same false claim about Obamacare’s own impact on the federal budget.)

The rule cites a study that finds the cost of contraception is cheaper than the cost of unplanned pregnancy, which is idiotically beside the point, since no one, not even the Obama Administration, is suggesting that people who do not get free contraception will necessarily fail to use any contraception at all. This pathetic, financially dubious dodge is the fig leaf that the Obama Administration has hung on the religious employer exception. It gets worse though.

Second, for self-insured health groups, like some corporations, the proposed rule says the cost of contraception and abortifacients will be offset because the ultimate issuer of the objectionable coverage (the rule contemplates a third party) will get to deduct the cost from the federally-mandated exchange fees that all such insurers will have to pay to continue operating under Obamacare. Essentially, Obama is saying to these insurers: “You must pay me a fee to stay in business, but you can deduct the cost of contraception from the fee, so that makes the contraception coverage free.”

Like I said: magical thinking.

Why all of this dishonesty, chicanery, sleight of hand and expense and hassle for something that costs all of $9 a month in some cases? It’s obviously not about access. There are far more expensive drugs out there, that actually save lives, that are not the subject of this kind of fight and controversy. It may be about population control. It may also be about breaking the backs of anyone who harbors any objection to abortion. But it’s not about access.