Chiquita Brooks-LaSure, Deputy Director of Policy and Regulation at the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (that title is 156 characters long) held a conference call on February 1, 2013 to announce revised proposed rules for socializing the cost of female contraceptives as those rules impact religious organizations. Per the Associated Press, the recording of this call is available through February 8, 2013 by calling 800-677-1613. (Go for it!)
If you don't want to listen to the whole recording (ahem), here is a recording of Ms. Brooks-LaSure's announcement and a recording of one of the questions from an NPR reporter and the response of Ms. Brooks-LaSure. Click here for the 80 page document detailing the actual proposed rules. Let's see, we have a 156 character long title for a government employee announcing an 80 page proposed set of rules selectively addressing religiously based conscience objections to a government mandate that such organizations pay for free contraceptives for their employees. The only reason for any of this is that those praying at the alter of government believe it is their duty to impose their will and beliefs upon those who pray at a different alter.
The best part of the whole show is Ms. Brooks-LaSure's response to the question in the above linked recording. The reporter asks whether it isn't really the insurance companies who will be paying the cost of free contraceptives given to employees of religious organizations who request such coverage under the proposed rules, or won't the Federal government really be paying the cost for those employees under self funded health insurance plans offered by religious organizations?
In response, Ms. Brooks-LaSure notes that since "studies have shown" overall health costs are reduced when contraceptives are provided free, insurance companies will realize an overall cost savings by paying for those costs. But wait a minute! If that were true the insurance companies would voluntarily include free contraceptives within coverages as doing so will save both the companies and the employees money while improving health care, and there would be no need for us to pay Ms. Brooks-LaSure's salary let alone have to deal with a new 80 page proposed rule or any free contraceptive mandate at all.
Again, in response to the question as directed to self insured organizations, Ms. Brooks-LaSure notes that the user fees paid by health plan administrators would be credited for the cost of providing the contraceptive coverage. While Ms. Brooks-LaSure doesn't think that means the Federal government is paying for that credit, the reality is that we would be paying, as user fees supporting the government's over site of Obamacare are reduced through such credits, which dollars will necessarily be made up from another Federal bucket. It seems Ms. Brooks-LaSure's belief system is highly selective.
If someone wants to start a charitable organization that collects donations to be used to subsidize the cost of contraceptives and other female reproductive health services that is fine with me as both those funding such an organization and those using such a service would be doing so voluntarily, freely exercising their rights and assuming personal responsibility for their behavior.
If there were real evidence free contraceptives save overall health insurance costs as claimed the insurance industry would be foolish not to offer such coverage in all health plans, and in fact, those women declining free contraceptives would then rationally be subject to a higher, rather than lower premium payment.
The emptiness of the government's reasoning in proposing religious exceptions reveals that those same flaws exist in the reasoning underlying socialization of female reproductive health services in the first place.
The reality is that our government is full of Brooks-LaSures, people who believe in and whose income depends on the religion of government at the expense of our individual freedoms and responsibilities. We need to push back until the entire female preventative health services mandate is repealed, not simply seek a religious exception, in order to limit the scope of Federal power, to reel it to boundaries consistent with our traditions of moral and religious tolerance, and mutual respect. We need to do this to prove we live in America.
Regards, Pete Weldon