Ray Comfort Vs… Debbie Goddard? »« Dumbass Quote of the Day

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  1. wendy says

    I worked for Mercy Health for years, and my insurance covered birth control pills at the regular co-pay. So they were already paying $70 a month to enable me to have dirty, dirty non-procreating sex with my hsband. I guess paying the additional $30 is completely different, though.

  2. parasiteboy says

    CBS’s morning show indicated that this will be happening. They mentioned something about the administration “softening” their stance and may look at the way some religiously affiliated institutions, like Georgetown (a Jesuit school) I believe it was, offer health insurance plans with birth control. I am unsure of the details though…

  3. anandine says

    You can bet on it. In fact, I would gladly do so if anyone is interested.

    I’m in. $10 cash paid to the first homeless person the loser sees on the street. I think they will finesse this without caving. The problem will be deciding what is a cave.

    — dropping the requirement to offer contraception in health plans, clearly a cave

    — dropping the requirement that there be no co-pay or that it apply to companies with fewer than 15 employees. Since these were the only two changes made this time, this would also clearly be a cave.

    — leaving the above but somewhat increasing the scope of the exemption; depends on what it is. Most likely we would both lose and pay the homeless guy.

  4. dingojack says

    Does ‘contraception’ include condoms? If so, get ready for a huge rise in spending on public health in the future, especially in the South.
    ‘Yeeehaaah! The pox is gunna rise agin!’
    :( Dingo

  5. Mr Ed says

    NPR had a good story about this on Morning Addition this morning. They pointed out that 28 states already have a rule similar to the on proposed. Covering birth control came about as a 2000 complaint to the EEOC, challenges were up held by state Supreme Courts and the US Supreme court opted to not hear the cases.

    NPR Story

  6. heironymous says

    Frum has an excellent take on this over at the Beast:

    If the audience is paying attention, for example, it will notice that Republicans are not proposing to allow employers and plans to refuse to cover blood transfusions if they conscientiously object to them (although there are religious groups that do). Or vaccinations (although there are individuals who conscientiously object to those as well). Or medicines derived from animal experimentation. (Ditto.)
    No, Marco Rubio’s Religious Freedom Restoration bill provides for one conscientious exemption only: contraception and sterilization.

    If the White House can make this case, it would outline what this is really about. Not Obama against “Religious Freedom,” but the GOP against women (again).

  7. d cwilson says

    Well, here’s what Yahoo News/ABC is reporting:

    In Hawaii the employer is responsible for referring employees to places where they can obtain the contraception; Catholic leaders call that material cooperation with evil. But what the White House will likely announce later today is that the relationship between the religious employer and the insurance company will not need to have any component involving contraception. The insurance company will reach out on its own to the women employees. This is better for both sides, the source says, since the religious organizations do not have to deal with medical care to which they object, and women employees will not have to be dependent upon an organization strongly opposed to that care in order to obtain it.

    So, if I read this right, if you work for say, a Catholic hospital, the hospital won’t tell you that birth control is an option available for the coverage, but you’ll get a letter from the insurance company telling you that you can get it. But will there be an extra charge to you or your employee for this coverage?

    http://news.yahoo.com/white-house-announce-accommodation-religious-organizations-contraception-rule-120516299–abc-news.html

  8. Randomfactor says

    The irony is that the employers already have to provide coverage, and have ever since 2000. This is all about the provision free of charge, rather than with co-pays, etc.

    Like in the old sexist joke, we already know what the Catholic Church IS, now they’re just haggling over the price.

  9. says

    I’m afraid I have to take up a devil’s advocate position. It does seem like there ought to be a fair amount room for religious groups to set their own rules, even in things like what health care plans they offer. (No matter how silly their qualms may appear… or be.) I mean, I figure Employment Division v. Smith was wrongly decided.

    If the Obama administration ‘caves’, it might actually be a good thing in this case.

  10. kirk says

    Here’s the nut graf in the statement just released by the White House:

    Under the new policy to be announced today, women will have free preventive care that includes contraceptive services no matter where she works. The policy also ensures that if a woman works for religious employers with objections to providing contraceptive services as part of its health plan, the religious employer will not be required to provide contraception coverage, but her insurance company will be required to offer contraceptive care free of charge.

  11. kirk says

    Here’s some more details. Everything below taken directly from the statement:

    • Today, the Obama Administration will publish final rules in the Federal Register that:

    o Exempts churches, other houses of worship, and similar organizations from covering contraception on the basis of their religious objections.

    o Establishes a one year transition period for religious organizations while this policy is being implemented.

    • The President will also announce that his Administration will propose and finalize a new regulation during this transition year to address the religious objections of the non-exempted religious organizations. The new regulation will require insurance companies to cover contraception if the non-exempted religious organization chooses not to. Under the policy:

    o Religious organizations will not have to provide contraceptive coverage or refer their employees to organizations that provide contraception.

    o Religious organizations will not be required to subsidize the cost of contraception.

    o Contraception coverage will be offered to women by their employers’ insurance companies directly, with no role for religious employers who oppose contraception.

    o Insurance companies will be required to provide contraception coverage to these women free of charge.

  12. Randomfactor says

    It does seem like there ought to be a fair amount room for religious groups to set their own rules, even in things like what health care plans they offer

    Why them, and no other employer?

  13. kirk says

    It goes on to say that similar rules in Hawaii lowered premiums by 10 percent or more, since providing free contraception helps prevent future spending on other health care.

  14. Chiroptera says

    Randomfactor, #15: Why them, and no other employer?

    They are providing services that the larger society feels are important enough to regulate for the protection of the patients. Also, they aren’t staffing solely through volunteers: they are paying wages to people who participate in the larger economy. They don’t subsist soley on voluntary contributions; they purchase their resources from the larger economy.

    One can argue whether or not people or groups should be able to “opt out” of the larger society and subsist on their own efforst and obey their own rules. But certainly when groups decide that they are going to participate in society and recieve the benefits from that participation, then it isn’t unreasonable to expect them to also accept the responsibilities and obey the rules that society imposes on them.

    I mean, this is pretty basic social contract theory (for those with a more “traditional” view of liberal democracy) — I would have thought pretty non-controversial for the last 200 years at least.

  15. Chiroptera says

    Oops, just so no one misunderstands, my last post is in support of what I think Randomfactor’s point is.

  16. says

    kirk –

    Insurance companies will be required to provide contraception coverage to these women free of charge.

    And the money to do this will come from where?

  17. Michael Heath says

    It appears the Obama Administration did not cave (see WSJ article below).

    Aquaria writes:

    He’s thrown everyone else under the bus, given the chance. Why not women, too?

    Your bomb throwing is as despicable as those you hate or defame.

    How is repealing DADT throwing GBLT military personnel under the bus? How is passing a stimulus that saved and grew 3 million jobs throwing people under the bus? Especially the state employees whose jobs were saved with the first round of stimulus in the mid-2009. How is winding down the war in Iraq as promised throwing us under the bus? And finally, how were women in this case “thrown under the bus” given the Obama Administration’s response will continue to guarantee these insured employees will have access to contraception that isn’t out-of-pocket?

    The WSJ reports:

    Under the new policy, insurance companies will be required to offer free contraception for these workers, a subtle shift aimed at moving the onus from the employer to the insurer, a senior administration official said. […] The new mandate will come from the Department of Health and Human Services via a regulation, people familiar with the decision said.

    The policy will allow religious employers to opt out of the coverage mandate. If they do so, the employer’s insurance company will be required to offer contraception for free in a separate arrangement with workers who want it.

    Women will still get free birth control—without co-pays or deductibles—even if they work at these religious institutions. That mandate stems from the Obama health-care law, which requires free preventive care. The Institute of Medicine recommended that contraception be included on the list of covered services.

  18. kirk says

    @Ray Ingles

    My post #16 refers to the assertion that premiums go down when free contraception is offered. Technically, the money to pay for this comes from the insurance companies, but overall, it’s seen as a cost-saving move for them because of the lower overall costs.

    Whether that’s true is beyond my expertise, but that’s the math that’s being used by the White House. They back it up with the experience in Hawaii, which this is based on. Here’s the exact quote from the White House statement:

    Covering contraception saves money for insurance companies by keeping women healthy and preventing spending on other health services. For example, there was no increase in premiums when contraception was added to the Federal Employees Health Benefit System and required of non-religious employers in Hawaii. One study found that covering contraception lowered premiums by 10 percent or more.

  19. jnorris says

    I will not vote for him a second time. He has no spine and has removed any semblance of one from every Democrat in the Senate and House. The only difference between him and the Republican candidates is Pres Obama doesn’t repeatedly say stupid things.

  20. anandine says

    If the reports above are true, it seems like not a cave. That is, it seems as though the religious employers will be able to say they are not offering birth control, but their employees will still get it through the same insurance company they currently use.

    I’ll still give $10 to some homeless guy today.

  21. jamessweet says

    Caving simply means changing the policy they announced as a result of the controversy.

    That’s a rather expansive definition of “caving”. By that criteria, if the administration announced, “Okay fuckers, just for making such a fuss about it, we’re getting rid of the exemption for churches, too”, that would technically be “caving”. :p

    The rumors I am hearing about compromise make it more or less acceptable to me and I don’t consider it a “cave”. As long as no women are losing access to health care services they would otherwise have had, that is not a “cave” in my book.

  22. Chris from Europe says

    @Michael Heath

    How is repealing DADT throwing GBLT military personnel under the bus?

    Before the repeal, his administration ramped up enforcement of DADT. His administration also blocked attempts to defund enforcement or to weaken the implementation of DADT.

    How did Obama throw the LGBT community under the bus in general? “God is in the mix.” This was used by proponent of SSM repeal in California and his weak support statement didn’t undo the damage. Rick Warren was also a central person at his inauguration.

    There are many more example where Mr Obama didn’t use the scope of existing law to improve the situation, for example employment discrimination. In the area of housing, changes were announced only recently.

  23. James C. says

    @jnorris #22:

    Saying that Obama is spineless is one thing. Saying that there’s no substantial difference between Obama and Insert Flavor of the Month Here is quite another. It’s completely asinine to say that having insurers cover contraception is the same thing as hoping to repeal the whole health care overhaul/improvement.

  24. Brain Hertz says

    Unless I’m missing something, it looks like there was no cave from the administration. The “compromise” is essentially that religious employers are now legally permitted to pretend that they don’t pay for birth control (but they still have to actually pay for it). That’s about it.

    The bishops were never going to walk away without some means of being able to spin the outcome in such away that they can claim to have secured some sort of concession. They got that, but that’s all they got; there’s no actual change in policy here.

  25. Brain Hertz says

    Before the repeal, his administration ramped up enforcement of DADT. His administration also blocked attempts to defund enforcement or to weaken the implementation of DADT.

    Seriously? Getting DADT repealed was not some simple matter of issuing an edict. Sure, the administration could have just halted enforcement, but that would have left the rule on the books and left the door open to a future republican administration to reverse it (and they would, given the chance).

    Obama got the job done the hard way and fixed the problem in such a way that it will be effectively impossible to reverse later. I really don’t understand how what he did here can possibly be characterized as “throwing people under the bus”.

  26. Michael Heath says

    Jnorris:

    I will not vote for him a second time. He has no spine and has removed any semblance of one from every Democrat in the Senate and House. The only difference between him and the Republican candidates is Pres Obama doesn’t repeatedly say stupid things.

    No difference? We’d have had a global financial meltdown without Obama’s leadership. He got a stimulus that saved/created 3 million jobs not counting the auto-bailout. He ended the war in Iraq when his opponent sought to continue it indefinitely (in spite of Obama following through on Bush’s end-game). We wouldn’t have repealed DADT. We wouldn’t have reformed health care insurance which has and will continue to increase the number covered even if some aspects of the plan is overturned by the SCOTUS justices nominated by, that’s right – Republicans.

    And here you are reacting to mere speculation when the president didn’t cave.

    Your attitude is a perfect example of why liberals lose to a bunch of delusional idiots, in spite of being far more competent at governing.

  27. Michael Heath says

    zachariahwasson to Ed:

    You win…

    The president did not cave, so Ed did not win. The promise of free contraception for these covered employees stands. From my perspective he did as a fine an end run as I’ve seen.

  28. Brain Hertz says

    The president did not cave, so Ed did not win. The promise of free contraception for these covered employees stands. From my perspective he did as a fine an end run as I’ve seen.

    Agreed. In fact, if I read it right, the effect of the “compromise” is to effectively nullify the previous exemption that was in place for churches, too.

  29. says

    I’m getting endless amusement out of the right posturing themselves as defenders of religious freedom. These were the same people who, not many months ago, were trying to deny a moderate Muslim guy the right to build a community center with a prayer room in Manhattan. You really don’t get more anti-1st Amendment than that.

  30. says

    Hey, if they found a way make sure everyone still gets free contraception and still get out of the religion problem, that would count as clever rather than a cave to me. If what Michael Heath says above is accurate, I’ll gladly admit to being wrong on this one.

  31. dave says

    He has no spine and has removed any semblance of one from every Democrat in the Senate and House.

    Leaving aside whether or not Obama has a spine, this makes no sense. Did you see that Congressional Democrats in 2007 as having strong backbones?

    Before the repeal, his administration ramped up enforcement of DADT. His administration also blocked attempts to defund enforcement or to weaken the implementation of DADT.

    It is often said that the best way to expose and destroy and unjust law is by rigorously enforcing it.

  32. Chris from Europe says

    @Brain Hertz
    I meant other implementations within the scope of the law. He could have left enforcement at the state of the Bush administration.

    I’m not convinced that an implementation that fits the original promises of DADT would have prevented full repeal.

    I really don’t understand how what he did here can possibly be characterized as “throwing people under the bus”.

    Because he did throw a number of people under the bus to achieve the goal? It’s the only honest characterization of his approach.

    (And apparently it’s too much for Democrats in Congress to have more than one LGBT-bill to vote on. According to polls neither ENDA nor the hate crime bill were truly controversial.)

  33. abb3w says

    So, it sounds like this shifts the “requirement” (semantically, if perhaps not economically) from the religious organizations to provide coverage that includes contraception, to religious organizations to provide insurance coverage, and adds a requirement to all insurers to include contraception in all coverage at no additional cost.

    It looks like a “change” of no significance, and hardly “caving” on any material point — only on the spin.

    I expect the fight will continue; even leaving aside that this doesn’t change diddly in terms of dollars (expect possibly an iota increase in premiums overall, for the insurance company’s costs in “let’s pretend”), there still are probably a few Catholic organizations with large enough employee pools that they’re self-insuring; say, Notre Damn.

  34. robertfaber says

    Couple of things on this.

    Lawrence O’Donnell pointed out that funding contraception is not in violation of the religious freedom test, because the measure does not require individuals to use contraception if they do not believe in it, it requires organizations to pay for it just like every other employer, just like any other labor law. Religion doesn’t give you a free pass on all secular laws. You can’t be a polygamist even if your religion allows for it, and if you let your kid die because you thought prayer was a better option than the emergency room, you’ll be charged with criminal neglect.

    Also, I pay for things for which I have objections, such as our wars of adventure and abstinence only sex education, through taxation. I’m not being offered the same free pass despite my moral objections to them. So suck it up, Catholics. We all know you use birth control.

  35. slc1 says

    Of course, if a public option had been included in the Health Care Reform Bill, this entire bruehaha would have been academic.

  36. RustD says

    Michael Heath says: @ 31
    Thank you for saying what I was thinking. Obama is not as bad as the alternatives. Voting for the lesser of two evils is still better than not voting or throwing your vote away. I voted for John Anderson in my first Presidential election. I have regretted that vote ever since.

  37. eric says

    abb3w:

    …adds a requirement to all insurers to include contraception in all coverage at no additional cost.

    Sort of, but not quite. IANAL but here’s how I understand it, using donuts as an example. The administration says employers must provide (at cost) Dunkin’ donuts for their employees. The RCC (and others) say, okay, but we really object to donuts with sprinkles. So the administration responds: okay, you can give your employees donuts without sprinkles. But anyone can bring their employer-provided donuts into Dunkin’, and Dunkin’ will give you sprinkles for free. (Yeah, the analogy sort of breaks down because you don’t have to “go” anywhere for insurance.)

    robertfaber:

    Also, I pay for things for which I have objections, such as our wars of adventure and abstinence only sex education, through taxation.

    You have brought up an interesting side point, which is that the U.S. is only in this mess because of the right-left compromise we have on health care – i.e, privately provided, but mandated. If we had chosen the same system the rest of the first world uses – i.e., government health care paid for via taxation – it would be a nonissue, since nobody (except some really extreme libertarians) questions the ability of a government to tax you for things you don’t agree with.

    There’s a legitimate difference in the two systems, and I think conservatives have a legitimate (if somewhat overblown) gripe. When a democratic government taxes you and provides a service in return, if you don’t like the service they provide you can vote the bums out. In essense, every citizen gets to “vote for the board” under that system. But if the government demands you buy a health care product from a private company, you don’t necessarily get to vote for their boards. You have to buy stock to do that. And corporate boards can be much more insulated from their shareholders than elected politicians. So it is not clear to me that just because the tax-and-gov-service system is constitutioal, the buy-and-private-service system is.

  38. robertfaber says

    Eric: there’s more to it than the public/private debate, though I agree a universal health care system would have done away with the problem. What I mean here is that while we don’t force the Catholic church to hire an atheist priest, we do have laws that prohibit Catholic hospitals and universities from discriminating on the basis of religion.

    Private sector employers, even if the owners/CEO might have a strong religious objection to paying for birth control coverage, do not get any opt-out, and will not get one. Nor should they; conservatives tend to completely ignores that there is another set of rights on the other side of their argument, women’s rights. The religious discrimination against birth control costs those women upwards of an extra thousand dollars a year in out of pocket expenses, while those same employers fund every type of boner pill you could imagine in the same health plans.

  39. Michael I says

    abb3w@38

    And according to a post at talkingpointsmemo’s tpmdc webpage an advantage of the amended policy is that it’s less susceptible to challenge under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

    (begin quote)

    Although it was an open question whether the original birth control requirement would pass this level of scrutiny, the White House’s announcement Friday allowing religious nonprofits to opt out (in which case the insurer would be forced to pay for birth control without a copay) appears to restrict the RFRA argument to overturn it.

    “This neuters the RFRA arguments entirely, it seems to me,” Winkler told TPM after the announcement. “Now that religious institutions are no longer required to [pay for employees’ birth control coverage], it’s hard to make the argument that the contraception mandate substantially burden religious beliefs.”

    (end quote)

    (Adam Winkler is a constitutional law professor at UCLA quoted by TPM for the article.)

  40. Michael Heath says

    slc1 writes:

    Of course, if a public option had been included in the Health Care Reform Bill, this entire bruehaha would have been academic.

    I don’t follow. The public option was intended to provide a government-managed choice to compete against private insurers for people who were not in an employer-plan and not eligible for Medicare or Medicaid. What does that have to do with religious institutions selecting the suite of coverages they’ll cover on behalf of their employees?

  41. Michael Heath says

    eric writes:

    IANAL but here’s how I understand it, using donuts as an example. The administration says employers must provide (at cost) Dunkin’ donuts for their employees. The RCC (and others) say, okay, but we really object to donuts with sprinkles. So the administration responds: okay, you can give your employees donuts without sprinkles. But anyone can bring their employer-provided donuts into Dunkin’, and Dunkin’ will give you sprinkles for free. (Yeah, the analogy sort of breaks down because you don’t have to “go” anywhere for insurance.)

    This analogy doesn’t work since offering free contraception increases the net profit for insurance companies. It does so by increasing the rate of people using contraception and the rate they use contraception. That marginal increase in pay-outs for contraception is less than the amount of claims due to pregnancies. Mike Allen of Politico reported this in his daily email. IIRC the same is true for abortion coverage.

  42. Azkyroth says

    I really don’t understand how what he did here can possibly be characterized as “throwing people under the bus”.

    Then you aren’t motivated enough.

  43. KG says

    The only difference between him and the Republican candidates is Pres Obama doesn’t repeatedly say stupid things. – jnorris

    That’s because he’s sane, and his party does not require him to pretend to be crazy. That’s a fucking huge difference.

  44. Azkyroth says

    Also, Obama has been a serious disappointment in many ways, but arguing that there’s no difference between him and the Repugs is like arguing that there’s no difference between being kicked in the shin and having a running chainsaw shoved up your ass.

  45. exdrone says

    I think the stated policy is quite clever. Catholic institution of moral superiority – you don’t have to “pay” for contraceptive health care, but your health insurer has to provide it at no cost. Of course, if your premiums seem a bit higher afterward, it’s just a coincidence. These are not the pro-life reimbursements you are looking for.

  46. slc1 says

    Re Michael Heath @ #46

    That depends on the form of the public option. At least one of the proposals would have allowed individuals, regardless of whether their employer offered health insurance, to take the public option, in which case, the issue of the employer being required to cover birth control becomes mute as said employer would no longer be involved.

  47. Michael Heath says

    slc1 writes:

    At least one of the proposals would have allowed individuals, regardless of whether their employer offered health insurance, to take the public option, in which case, the issue of the employer being required to cover birth control becomes mute as said employer would no longer be involved.

    I never encountered this proposal nor can I imagine how it would work. Would the employee who picked the public option instead of his employer’s plan be able to forces their employer to contribute an amount towards the public option equal to that which they currently contribute to the private insurer the employer has selected? If so, do you realize this reduces the employer’s leverage with their current provider which could lead to higher premium/co-pay for those still in the employer-sourced plan?

  48. says

    theophontes,

    That book sounds interesting, I haven’t read it. I got it now too, and put it on “the list”.

    KG,

    the feeling I get from my friends is that the country is de facto independent, especially after democratisation. But that hard-won independence and democracy is now perceived to be under threat due to the continued precariousness of its international position, and the ever growing ties across the strait.

  49. Jordan Genso says

    My favorite analogy to the birth control issue I read somewhere was this:

    The Catholic Church does not believe in divorce. If a Catholic hospital hires an individual that was divorced but is now married to their second spouse, can the hospital refuse to recognize that spouse as being covered under family insurance plans?

  50. Freeman says

    @RustD #41:
    Voting for the lesser of two evils is still better than not voting or throwing your vote away.

    How is perpetually choosing between two evils (by definition voting for what you consider evil every time) when other choices are available, thereby doing your part to perpetuate the “two-party system” thinking that has people imagining they’re throwing away a vote if they don’t choose one of the two, not “throwing your vote away”? Because a John Anderson never has a chance at winning? Have we thrown our votes away every time our candidate loses? To my thinking, the only way to throw your vote away is to fail to vote for whomever you believe would be best for the job.

    I voted for John Anderson in my first Presidential election. I have regretted that vote ever since.

    Now that just seems silly. Anderson was a Republican who ran as an independent. Reagan beat Carter, Anderson, and the rest by a huge landslide – it’s not like the Republican vote got split or independent votes got siphoned off to any appreciable degree. Nobody else would have won that election even if everyone had been forced to vote for only a Republican or Democratic candidate. What is the source of your regret? How could your vote for Reagan or Carter instead of Anderson have made any difference?

    I’ve been voting for over 30 years. I’ve never voted for either the Republican or Democratic candidate in any presidential election (though I’ve voted for many on both sides at the local level) and I’ve voted in every one. I don’t feel that I’ve thrown any of those votes away, though none of those I voted for had any realistic chance at winning the election. I’ve always voted for who I thought would do the best job, therefore, no regrets here.

  51. Michael Heath says

    Freeman writes:

    I’ve been voting for over 30 years. I’ve never voted for either the Republican or Democratic candidate in any presidential election (though I’ve voted for many on both sides at the local level) and I’ve voted in every one. I don’t feel that I’ve thrown any of those votes away, though none of those I voted for had any realistic chance at winning the election. I’ve always voted for who I thought would do the best job, therefore, no regrets here.

    Care to share the presidential candidates who received your vote? If there was a partisan pattern to your voting in general, even beyond presidential candidates, which party normally gets your vote?

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