The Corner

From Bad to Worse

The more you look at the details of today’s White House proposal the more preposterous and infuriating it appears.


Whatever you think of the accounting trick at the heart of the rule—whether it just means the cost of the contraceptive and abortifacient benefit would be passed back to religious employers in the form of higher premiums or would be eaten by the insurers as just another price to pay for the captive population handed to them by Obamacare—the basic structure of the rule means that by contracting with an insurer to provide health coverage to their employees, religious employers would be making contraceptive and abortifacient coverage available to those employees. That’s exactly what they were opposed to in the original rule. So the “accounting gimmick” question isn’t even essential to the problem. The only difference today’s new twist makes is that now those religious employers would either also be compelling another actor—the insurer—to pay for the benefit more directly (and so compelling that other actor to act immorally too, as the religious employers see it), or they would be effectively laundering the money they use to pay for the benefit. Either one would be even worse than what was envisioned by the original rule.


Basically, this new rule would create a new class of Americans who are the only people in the country eligible to receive contraceptive and abortifacient drugs from their insurance companies at no cost, and that class of Americans would consist of the people who work for religious employers. Religious groups opposed to contraceptive or abortive drugs would put people into this class by employing them and providing them with health insurance, or else they would have to pay a fine.


And that’s a compromise? How is that not even more offensive than the original rule?

Yuval Levin is the director of social, cultural, and constitutional studies at the American Enterprise Institute and the editor of National Affairs.


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