Four Reasons Why the Revised HHS Mandate Is Still OPPRESSIVE

Feel free to use the information on this “Fact Sheet” when writing your letter of protest on the proposed “compromise” on the HHS Mandate.

#1: While the revised HHS mandate reduces the number of tests for a religiously based non-profit to qualify as a “religious employer” and thereby receive an exemption from its requirements, in point of fact, it does NOT expand the number of non-profits that can escape its clutches.

Under the new rules proposed February 1, in order to qualify for an exemption, non-profits no longer have to exist for the purpose of inculcating religious values, nor do they have to employ or serve only people of their own faith. They do, however, have to be what the IRS defines as churches or their affiliated organizations. This categorization does not include Catholic hospitals, schools, or social service agencies - or Priests for Life!. In fact, in its Fact Sheet on the revised mandate, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ Center for Consumer Information and Oversight states: “The Departments believe that this proposal would not expand the universe of employer plans that would qualify for the exemption beyond that which was intended in the 2012 final rules.” In other words, the new standards for determining a “religious employer” constitute a distinction without a difference. Basically, if you didn’t qualify for an exemption before, you still won’t now.

#2: The newly revised HHS mandate states that the employees of religiously-based non-profits will be issued separate coverage for “preventive health care services” such as abortifacients, contraceptives, and sterilization by insurance companies, not employers. The new mandate also stipulates that such coverage will be at no cost to the employees. While this “accommodation” is supposed to take employers out of the business of providing morally objectionable coverage, it fails to do so for two reasons:

  • First, the mandate does not explain how such coverage will be financed – somehow the insurance companies are just supposed to absorb the cost for such coverage themselves. The reality, of course, is that insurance companies will pass along the cost of such separate coverage, one way or another, to their clients. Health insurance companies don’t provide contraceptives or sterilization for free now – why would they start doing so in the future?
  • The other problem with this “compromise” is that religiously based non-profits are still being forced to give employees coverage that they deem immoral and violations of their faith. Regardless of who’s paying for such immoral 'services,' the 'services' remain objectionable and the employer remains the "gateway" to the employee's coverage.

#3: The revised mandate does not even pretend to offer any “compromise” to private businesses.

Religious individuals who operate for-profit companies with 50 or more employees are still obligated to pay for employee health insurance plans that cover abortifacients, contraceptives, and sterilization with no co-pays. The alternatives for business owners who do not wish to violate their religious beliefs are: a) pay crushing fines; or b) close your doors.

#4: There are still no provisions to allow individual employees to opt out of the morally objectionable coverage that their employers are forced to provide.

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Priests for Life
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