More things to know about the HHS Mandate

The USCCB had posted six things people should know about Pres. Obama’s HHS mandate, HERE.  Again at the blog of the USCCB, you will find an entry:

Six More Things Everyone Should Know About the HHS Mandate

1. The rule that created the uproar has not changed at all, but was finalized as is. Friday evening, after a day of touting meaningful changes in the mandate, HHS issued a regulation finalizing the rule first issued in August 2011, “without change.” So religious employers dedicated to serving people of other faiths are still not exempt as “religious employers.” Indeed, the rule describes them as “non-exempt.”

2. The rule leaves open the possibility that even exempt “religious employers” will be forced to cover sterilization. In its August 2011 comments, USCCB warned that the narrow “religious employer” exemption appeared to provide no relief from the sterilization mandate—only the contraception mandate—and specifically sought clarification. (We also noted that a sterilization mandate exists in only one state, Vermont.) HHS provided no clarification, so the risk remains under the unchanged final rule.

3. The new “accommodation” is not a current rule, but a promise that comes due beyond the point of public accountability. Also on Friday evening, HHS issued regulations describing the intention to develop more regulations that would apply the same mandate differently to “non-exempt, non-profit religious organizations”—the charities, schools, and hospitals that are still left out of the “religious employer” exemption. These policies will be developed over a one-year delay in enforcement, so if they turn out badly, their impact will not be felt until August 2013, well after the election.

4. Even if the promises of “accommodation” are fulfilled entirely, religious charities, schools, and hospitals will still be forced to violate their beliefs. If an employee of these second-class-citizen religious institutions wants coverage of contraception or sterilization, the objecting employer is still forced to pay for it as a part of the employer’s insurance plan. There can be no additional cost to that employee, and the coverage is not a separate policy. By process of elimination, the funds to pay for that coverage must come from the premiums of the employer and fellow employees, even those who object in conscience.

5. The “accommodation” does not even purport to help objecting insurers, for-profit religious employers, secular employers, or individuals. In its August 2011 comments, and many times since, USCCB identified all the stakeholders in the process whose religious freedom is threatened—all employers, insurers, and individuals, not just religious employers. Friday’s actions emphasize that all insurers, including self-insurers, must provide the coverage to any employee who wants it. In turn, all individuals who pay premiums have no escape from subsidizing that coverage. And only employers that are both non-profit and religious may qualify for the “accommodation.”

6. Beware of claims, especially by partisans, that the bishops are partisan. The bishops and their staff read regulations before evaluating them. The bishops did not pick this fight in an election year—others did. Bishops form their positions based on principles—here, religious liberty for all, and the life and dignity of every human person—not polls, personalities, or political parties. Bishops are duty bound to proclaim these principles, in and out of season.

Here are USCCB’s first “six things” on the HHS mandate.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Peggy R says:

    #1 is very very important for folks to know. Even the “accommodations” announced on Jan 20 or Fri Feb 10 are not incorporated into the rules in the Fed Register Friday. HIllary was so right. “Words, just words.”

  2. dnicoll says:

    Sáncte Míchael Archángele, defénde nos in proélio, cóntra nequítiam et insídias diáboli ésto præsídium. Ímperet ílli Déus, súpplices deprecámur: tuque, prínceps milítiæ cæléstis, Sátanam aliósque spíritus malígnos, qui ad perditiónem animárum pervagántur in múndo, divína virtúte, in inférnum detrúde. Ámen

  3. rfox2 says:

    Wow, how history repeats itself in terrifying ways. This sounds very much like the eugenics philosophies of the early 20th century that were incorporated into Nazi and (yes, indeed) were discussed in America as potential policies. There were many powerful Americans in the late 19th and early 20th centuries who pressed for eugenics laws that included sterilization, contraception and quite possibly, abortion, paid for and enforced as law by the federal government. One hundred years later, we’re now living that out again, but it’s becoming the law of the land. When you see this in black and white, it reads like George Orwell.

  4. Titus says:

    A Bishop, the President, and the Administrative Procedures Act walk into a bar . . .

    Why do I think this is unlikely to be a funny joke?

  5. pm125 says:

    I hope they email the 6 Points parishes as a Bulletin Insert before people lose their attention span in light of all the new, other $ partisan rhetoric starting.

  6. JonathanCatholic says:

    Bishops are duty bound to proclaim these principles, in and out of season? Really? Is that why there’s barely been a word breathed of this from the Bishops in America for the last fifty years?

  7. momoften says:

    Has anyone noticed that the SSPX is not involved in speaking out against the Health Mandate? They seem invisible. This will affect them as well.

  8. Joseph-Mary says:

    the gamble of the obamination:

    A timed attack. And the dissenters are on the ride of intrinsic evil and with NO consequences. It is nice that the bishops did seem to bristle about the evil mandate but there are the other powerful “catholics” who side with the white house. Split the Church: divide and conquer.

  9. Mdepie says:

    I think maybe its time the Bishops got a little more Partisan, and not shy away from it. At the end of the day this administration backs abortion on demand, ( Wasn’t abortion an “unspeakable crime” according to Vatican II?) now Obama is engaged in an unconstitutional assault on the First Ammendment. Didn’t he take an oath to defend the constitution? It seems obvious to me that this is an evil administration engaged in promoting things that are evil. No candidate on the Republican side would contemplate this kind of unprecedented assault on conscience and all of them would mitigate the evil of abortion or at least not extend it. There is one candidate who likely would mitigate it. ( Santorum) How is it possible for the Bishops to remain “non partisan” at this point. It is obvious to everyone that to the extent Obama and the Democrats win in November this all gets worse and it improves if the Republicans gain control. Does anyone not believe this? It is time to stop living in some alternative universe and being afraid to say what everyone knows is true. If the Bishops are really non partisan, its a mistake! If Obama gets 54% of the Catholic vote this time around it is a crime


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