Obamacare isn’t perfect, but it’s better than nothing. And this child fucking loves it.
Dear fellow Catholics,
Obama is not bullying The Church. It’s as simple as this: If Catholic Universities and Hospitals do not want to follow the mandate to provide contraceptives to their employees as laid out in the Affordable Care Act, I suggest that they do not accept any government money.
There is a precedent for this. Based on a 1984 Supreme Court decision, Grove City College v. Bell, colleges can become exempt from all federal mandates by refusing all federal funding, including indirect funding (e.g., federally student loans). Catholic hospitals and colleges can refuse to offer birth control, but they need to be willing give up all public money. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grove_City_College_v._Bell
Think Progress had a great article today: Many Catholic Universities, Hospitals Already Cover Contraception In Their Health Insurance Plans
Conservatives are seeking a way to politically unite Republican voters around a social issue and portray the regulation as a big government intrusion into religious liberties. In reality, the mandate is modeled on existing rules in six states, exempts houses of worship and other religious nonprofits that primarily employ and serve people of faith, and offers employers a transitional period of one year to determine how best to comply with the rule.
It’s also nothing new. Twenty-eight states already require organizations that offer prescription insurance to cover contraception and since 98 percent of Catholic women use birth control, many Catholic institutions offer the benefit to their employees. For instance, a Georgetown University spokesperson told ThinkProgress yesterday that employees “have access to health insurance plans offered and designed by national providers to a national pool. These plans include coverage for birth control.”
Of the six states that excempt houses of worship, my home state of Michigan is one of them. Michigan defines a house of worship as:
(a) The entity is a nonprofit organization
(b) The inculcation of religious values is the purpose of the entity.
(c) The entity primarily employs people who share the religious tenets of the entity.
(d) The entity serves primarily persons who share the religious tenets of the entity.
(you can find the other 5 states in the Think Progress link above)
A Catholic University or Hospital is not a nonprofit, they probably employ plenty of people that are not Catholic, and both definitely serve people of all faiths. Therefore, a University or Hospital that has a religious affiliation (Catholic or otherwise) is not a house of worship.
The wording in the healthcare law is:
For purposes of this subsection, a “religious employer” is an organization that meets all of the following criteria:
(1) The inculcation of religious values is the purpose of the organization.
(2) The organization primarily employs persons who share the religious tenets of the organization.
(3) The organization serves primarily persons who share the religious tenets of the organization.
(4)The organization is a nonprofit organization
Why should organizations that receive large amounts of money from the federal government to provide services be exempt from providing certain services (e.g., contraceptives) that the government requires? They don’t have to do anything they don’t want to, they can always turn down federal money.
In the past, some have decided not to accept federal funding: http://rainbowsashmovement.wordpress.com/2011/10/21/catholic-identity-or-federal-funding/
…Recently the Catholic University of America wanted the Obama administration to exempt Catholic colleges from morally offensive regulations. Had this institution not accepted federal funding this would not even be an issue. The Federal Government is not saying you cannot practice your religion, but it is saying if you accept federal funding you must obey the law.
This has absolutely nothing to do with First Amendment rights of Catholic institutions to be and act faithfully Catholic. If this is the priority than a reasonable question is why are such Catholic institutions accepting Federal Funding.
On Sept. 30, CUA president John Garvey called new Health and Human Services (HHS) regulations a “collective violation” of Catholic beliefs by the federal government. HHS has mandated that health insurance plans include coverage for sterilization, contraception and certain abortion-inducing drugs, even when offered by Catholic institutions. Again the devil is in the details if CUA cannot abide by these regulations than they should not accept Federal Funding. No one is forcing anyone to accept this funding.
Catholic Charities has found this out the hard way. In States and/or cities that have Civil Unions/Gay Marriage protections they have found that they cannot use State or City funding to promote their view that same sex couples can be discriminated against in their adoption/foster care. In those situations funding has been denied.
In Illinois two Catholic Dioceses have opted (Diocese of Peoria and Rockford) out of the state funded contracts because they believed their right to discriminate against gay couples was more important than then placing these orphans in homes that can provide both love and security. Both Dioceses can certainly discriminate against same sex couples, but they will have to do it with their own funding.
(The whole article is pretty good, but I didn’t want to make this piece longer than it is)
Then of course there is this:
Mr. President: Catholic Women Use Birth Control, Too
These are the facts that Archbishop Timothy Dolan probably didn’t share with President Obama last week.
The overwhelming majority, 98 percent, of sexually active Catholic women use a form of modern contraception.
Two-thirds of Catholics, 65 percent, believe that clinics and hospitals that take taxpayer money should not be allowed to refuse to provide procedures or medications based on religious beliefs. A similar number, 63 percent, also believe that health insurance, whether private or government-run, should cover contraception.
A strong majority (78 percent) of Catholic women prefer that their hospital offers emergency contraception for rape victims, while more than half (55 percent) want their hospital to provide it in broader circumstances.
in 1968, a majority of the pope’s hand-picked advisors agreed that there was no moral, theological or pastoral reason to ban Catholics from using contraception. The representatives of the bishops talking to the press today, however, would like us to forget that moment in Catholic history.
Church birth control commission docs unveiled
At the climactic meeting of cardinals and bishops, Grisez writes, there was “little discussion, and no minds were changed.” On the crucial question of whether every contraceptive act is wrong, the vote was 9 no, 3 yes, and 3 abstentions.
Also for some more history on the Commission on Birth Control: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pontifical_Commission_on_Birth_Control
Simply put: The vast majority of Catholics don’t have a problem with contraceptives. I’m from a small town rural area that is 98% white (of German ancestry), Catholic, and quite conservative. It’s not rocket science that the area went from having families of 5,6,7, even 8+ children that the baby boomers grew up in to families of 2 to 3 that my generation grew up in. There is nothing in the water that is making people less fertile, they’ve just chosen to use some form of birth control.
Those out there that are propagating this is as some sort of Catholic persecution need to wake up and smell the coffee. The government is not forcing Catholic (and other religions) hospitals, universities, and other institutions that are not house of worship to provide contraceptives to employees. If they do not want to provide a federally mandated service by law, they can just opt out of taking government money. Not all employees at a Catholic hospital, University, or school are Catholic, and many Catholics do not oppose using contraceptives included various forms of hormonal birth control. Many Catholic hospitals and Universities already provide contraceptives in their insurance plans, and twenty-eight states already require that institutions that provide healthcare must provide contraceptives (where was the US Conference of Catholic Bishops when those states mandated contraceptive coverage?). How this blew up when the exact same issue has already come up in twenty-eight states (that’s 56% of the states) boggles my mind.
…and there’s my two cents.
I leave you with one last article on the subject:
Birth Control and Why the Catholic Church Needs to Inform Its Own Conscience
I am the product of 14 years of Catholic school and am a practicing Catholic, actively involved in the church all of my life. As a woman with a career in politics and women’s leadership, I have quietly worked within the church to make change and have cautiously offered my voice only when I felt it was essential. But, I can be quiet no longer… read the rest here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/marjorie-clifton/birth-control-catholic-church_b_1258868.html
Nice! Obama holding his ground!
via Huff Po:
In a long-anticipated decision that will affect millions of women’s ability to pay for contraception, the Obama administration announced on Friday that it would not allow religiously affiliated employers such as universities and hospitals to deny full birth control coverage to the women they employ.
Under the new rule, set forth by the Affordable Care Act, most women employed in the U.S. will have the cost of their birth control covered with no co-pay. Churches and other places of worship would continue to be exempt from having to cover contraception for their employees if they morally object to the practice, according to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, but all other organizations will have a year to comply with the new requirement, regardless of whether or not they are religiously affiliated.
Some women’s rights groups and Democratic women in Congress had begun to lose enthusiasm for President Obama after the controversial decision by HHS to limit access to the morning-after pill. Many of them recently expressed deep concern that he would cave to the powerful Catholic bishop lobby on the birth control issue, but they were pleasantly surprised with his administration’s decision on Friday.
“I am glad that the Obama Administration has taken the sensible path here,” Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) told HuffPost. “By keeping these provisions strong, the administration is ensuring that millions of women will have access to affordable birth control. That’s good news for them and for the health of our entire country.”
“The bishops pulled out all the stops in their campaign against women’s access to contraception,” said Jon O’Brien, president of Catholics for Choice. “The Obama administration stood with those who support religious liberty and believe in giving women the freedom of conscience to make their own reproductive health decisions.”
The religious organizations that have been lobbying the White House for months to expand the so-called “conscience clause” were deeply upset by the decision, arguing that it includes coverage of the morning-after pill, which they believe causes abortions.
“Freedom of conscience is a sacred gift from God, not a grant from the state,” said Galen Carey, NAE Vice President for Government Relations. “No government has the right to compel its citizens to violate their conscience. The HHS rules trample on our most cherished freedoms and set a dangerous precedent.”
“This is a shameless attempt to kick the can down the road in an election year,” said Hannah Smith, senior legal counsel for The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty. “Religious colleges, universities, and hospitals will never pay for abortion drugs in violation of their religious beliefs — this year or any other year.”
Emergency contraception pills are not, in fact, “abortion drugs.” They can prevent a pregnancy by stopping ovulation or stopping an egg from attaching to the uterine wall, but they cannot end a pregnancy once it starts.
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, one of the most powerful lobbying groups on the issue of the religious exemption, did not respond to a request for comment on the announcement.
Secretary Sebelius said she had based her decision on “abundant” scientific evidence that birth control has significant health benefits for women and their families.
“This decision was made after very careful consideration, including the important concerns some have raised about religious liberty,” she said. “I believe this proposal strikes the appropriate balance between respecting religious freedom and increasing access to important preventive services.”
…but, but, but wait… I though “Obamacare” was the worst most job killing-absolutely awful-fucking every American in the ass-“Big Gubmint”-freedom hating-child starving-Sharia-socialist-communist-fascist law that would benefit no one except the most awful dredges of society. Oh, turns out the Republicans don’t know shit yet again. I wish we had full on “socialized medicine” or at least a public option, but I would not call the Affordable Care Act a total failure.
With the economy still in a slump, small business owners like me are doing everything we can to keep our costs down. A particularly troublesome cost for my business is health insurance.
However, I recently learned there are tax credits in the new healthcare law specifically for small businesses that will help us pocket some extra cash.
In Michigan, 85.1 percent, or 126,300 small businesses were eligible for a credit in 2010; 39,600 small businesses qualified for the maximum tax credit that year.
Unfortunately, I saw a survey from Small Business Majority that said 57 percent of small business owners don’t know about the credits. If more small employers took advantage of this opportunity to save money, there would be more cash circulating in our community.
Here’s how these tax credits from the Affordable Care Act benefit my mom-and-pop downtown business.
Our business strategy depends on stable, well-informed employees for us to compete with large national box stores. A comprehensive health care insurance plan is the best way for us to attract and keep the good people we need, but our insurance costs have risen 300 percent in 10 years, and competition won’t allow us to raise prices enough to cover them.
Under the Affordable Care Act, our store will receive a $15,000 tax credit. That’s not all the money in the world, but it means a lot to us and costs the government little or nothing.
Here’s how it worked for us. Last spring, when the tea leaves of commerce were hard to read, the tax credit gave me the confidence to hire a new full-time employee.
That employee is now paying taxes. That means thousands of dollars going into government coffers.
After a couple of months, our new person had the confidence to buy a $6,500 motorcycle that increased profits and tax revenue for the motorcycle shop. There’s more.
Another employee had been paying nearly $20,000 for his family insurance. Our tax credit gave me the confidence to encourage him to switch to our policy, which now saves that family more than $8,000 per year.
That money is going right into a new roof on the house and education for their kids.
From my perspective as a lifelong, small, downtown business owner, a relatively small health care reform tax credit helped our company put tens of thousands of dollars into the economy. I see healthcare reform as powerful economic stimulus that really works.
Any cash boost, large or small, is welcome in this economy. We can use the money we save to invest in new equipment and new workers, so we can expand and help grow the economy.
I hope all small businesses owners in Michigan will look into these credits. We need all the help we can get.
For more information about how to claim a credit, small business owners are encouraged to visit http://smallbusinessmajority.org/small-business-research/healthcare.php.
Mark Hodesh is the owner of Downtown Home and Garden in Ann Arbor.