Sebelius: Comments, Schmomments
On the final day for public comments about proposed revisions to a rule requiring that nearly all employer-paid insurance policies include temporary and permanent sterilization for women, as well as “morning after” pills, Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius told reporters that the coverage would begin before fall.
The Washington Times reports Sebelius asserting that, “as of Aug. 1, 2013, every employee who doesn’t work directly for a church or a diocese will be included in the benefit package” Monday at a forum moderated by Reuters and held at the Harvard School of Public Health.
The proposed revisions, made in response to dozens of lawsuits by religious organizations and private companies, do not exempt any employer except dioceses and religious institutions such as churches, mosques, and synagogues. The drugs and procedures, all of which are elective, must be provided without co-pays. Private companies, even Bible publishers and other businesses and organizations with overtly religious ends, must include them in all insurance policies.
The proposed revisions accommodate religious beliiefs, Sebelius and the HHS have said, by requiring that employees of religious organizations (schools, hospitals, convents, charitable organizations, etc.) receive the coverage, but in a different way — arranged and paid for by the same insurance companies that provide their health policies. It is not clear how the federal government has the authority to require insurance companies to provide and pay for any policies or services at their own expense. Opponents of the rule say that because the separate policy is required to be issued with the employer-paid policy, the government is only pretending that they are not one and the same and is only pretending that insurance companies would assume te costs.
“Kathleen Sebelius’s remarks realy show how deaf to the reliigious community the Obama administration is,” says Eric Scheidler, Executive Director of the Pro-Life Action League.
“On the last day for public comment on the shell game ‘accommodation,’ she says how it’s going to be. Why this charade of asking the public for comments? We’ve seen this again and again and again from the Obama administration.”
According to the Washington Times, the Sunlight Foundation Reporting Group said that the rule had received more than 147,000 public comments, more public comments than any other regulatory proposal of any type. However, the paper also reported that the National Women’s Law Center and Planned Parenthood Federation of America claim to submitted nearly 350,000 comments praising the rule Monday.
For opponents of the Rule, Secretary Sebelius’s remarks confirms their belief that the Department of Health and Human Services never meant to consider any opposition to its goal of providing all American women with free contraceptives, sterilizations, and early-stage abortifacients.
“At the end of the day,” Sheidler says, “the Obama administration is going to force this kind of funding of contraception on all people — regardless of what people say, regardless of what the Constitution says, and regardless of being sued by scores of employers.”
Kathleen Sebelius is the daughter of former Ohio governor John Gilligan. She grew up in Cincinnati and graduated from the Summit Country Day School. One of the most pro-abortion politicians in the country, she was Governor of Kansas before being appointed Secretary of Health and Human Services. Kansas City Archbishop Joseph Naumann asked Secretary Sebelius not to present herself for Communion because of her support of abortion, including late-term “partial birth” abortions.
Click here for our story on what the “accommodation” does, and doesn’t do.
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