by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Sarah Torre of the Heritage Foundation documents for the Daily Signal the Obama administration’s latest attempt to write rules for its employer health insurance mandate.
The eighth time still doesn’t seem to be the charm for government bureaucrats. On Friday, the Obama administration released yet another revision to the Department of Health and Human Services mandate that requires employers to provide coverage of abortion-inducing drugs, contraception and sterilization.
Many are wondering if the government has actually protected the religious freedom of the more than 300 plaintiffs suing over the coercive rule. The answer is no. I explain why by answering some common questions here:
Who would the revised rule apply to?
The interim final rule will only apply to certain religious non-profit organizations (like schools, charities and hospitals) who have a religious objection to facilitating insurance coverage of one or more abortion-inducing drugs and devices, contraception or sterilization services. Today, there are almost 200 religious non-profits suing over the coercive rule that comes with devastating fines for noncompliance —including Little Sisters of the Poor, Wheaton College, more than a dozen Catholic archdioceses, and health ministries.
What does the revised rule say?
If a religious non-profit organization has a religious objection to providing or facilitating coverage of abortion-inducing drugs and devices or contraception, the employer can write a letter to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) informing the government of such objection. The government will then direct the employer’s insurance company or third-party administrator to cover the objectionable drugs, devices, or services.
Does today’s revision adequately protect religious liberty?
No. The Obama administration’s latest bureaucratic tweak to the mandate would only replace one bad regulation with another.
The administration’s intransigence on this issue should surprise no one who understands the underlying clash of rights.