Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Those horrible, dastardly contraceptive insurance mandates--that are already in place in 28 states

Conservatives are beside themselves with indignation over the Obama administration's mandate that insurance plans include coverage for contraception and reproductive health services.

For example, Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) has written to the Secretary of Health and Human Services
This rule highlights this Administration’s continued invasive role in designing the health care benefits available to Americans and underscores one of the numerous concerns Americans have with the Affordable Care Act. That the definition of a preventative benefit services has morphed into a requirement to force Americans to buy a product that violates their conscience demonstrates the dramatic overreach of the law into Americans’ personal freedoms and liberties. This burdensome and morally dubious regulation stands against more than 200 years of our nation’s proud history of religious and individual liberty.
Harumph! It's odd though that Sen. Grassley doesn't criticize his own state, which has an insurance mandate that employers provide contraception and outpatient services, with no exclusions.

Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Missouri) has also criticized the compromise version of the mandate, saying
It’s still clear that President Obama does not understand this isn’t about cost – it’s about who controls the religious views of faith-based institutions. President Obama believes that he should have that control. Our Constitution states otherwise.

Just because you can come up with an accounting gimmick and pretend like religious institutions do not have to pay for the mandate, does not mean that you’ve satisfied the fundamental constitutional freedoms that all Americans are guaranteed.

I’ll continue to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to ensure that we reverse this unconstitutional mandate in its entirety.
Sen. Blunt has gone so far to introduce legislation to allow any employer opt out of providing contraception through insurance plans. Maybe Sen. Blunt should first convince Missouri to drop that state's insurance mandate that includes religious exemptions but requires that insurers still allow individuals to obtain coverage.

In fact, contraception is already part of mandated insurance coverage in 28 states. Twelve of those states either have no exemptions or have exemptions that are weaker than what the Obama administration is proposing.

My home state, North Carolina, is one of those states that mandates coverage for contraception and outpatient services. It also has exclusions that are similar to those in the federal proposal.

Insurance coverage for contraception was a widely accepted (and implemented) policy a few weeks ago. Once the Obama proposed a rule along the same lines, Party of No, began gainsaying just like Pavlov's dinner bell just rang.