Pillheads: On Contraception Issue, Rightbloggers Baptize Insurers and Defend the Faith
Problem solved! Well, not really. Rightbloggers stormed the internet barricades to complain that, because the church groups pay the insurers for insurance, their activities on behalf of church-group employees who want birth control are an unconscionable violation of religious liberty.
Prior to the Friday announcement, rightbloggers had been incensed about the original rule that made Catholic orgs that had mostly non-Catholic employees offer health care coverage that included contraception. Mark Steyn spoke eloquently for them all when he wrote that "President Obama has embarked on the same usurpation of church authority as Henry VIII," "we're not talking about mandatory condom dispensers next to the pulpit at St. Pat's - not yet," etc.
(We can dispense, BTW, with the tedious business of saying "and other groups," because it's Catholics -- or, rather, Catholic bishops and civilians of the Opus Dei variety -- who've generated this whole controversy; you don't see a lot of Jehovah's Witnesses complaining, and of course no one listens to the Muslims.)
The post-concession argument seemed to be that religious people should still be offended, because somebody who does business with the Catholics would be paying for birth control, which is the same as the Catholics paying for it. Also, abortion is murder.
"Insurance companies -- not the religious employers themselves -- would be forced to pay for the abortion-inducing drugs, sterilization, and contraception," said National Review's Hannah Smith. But "religious employers would still ultimately be paying for these services against their conscience, with the costs spread through higher insurance premiums for their employees."
"Catholic hospitals and universities would pay insurance companies premiums, which would pay for contraceptives and abortifacients," said Michael Hammond of RedState. "Evil doesn't become good because it's laundered through a third party."
This reasoning united such diverse rightbloggers as RedState yokel streiff ("My guess is that the employer whose employees are getting the 'free of charge' service is going to see their bill go up... This is an attack, one of several staged by this Administration, on religious freedom") and urban sophisticate Megan McArdle ("The insurers have to provide it 'at no cost.' Which of course means the Church will still be paying for it").
"Where do insurers get money to pay claims?" asked Ed Morrissey at Hot Air. "They collect premiums and co-pays from the insured group or risk pool. No matter what the Obama administration wants to say now, the money that will cover those contraception costs will come from the religious organizations that must now by law buy that insurance and pay those premiums... the government is forcing religious organizations to both pay for and facilitate activities that violate their religious doctrine."
One wonders if priests ever buy prescription drugs and, if so, how they make sure the money they send to pharmaceutical companies isn't used to make birth control pills. It must make for some heated theological debates down at the corner drug store.
We might also say something about anti-war Americans having to pay taxes that go toward blowing up foreigners (and even American citizens via drone) -- but why bother? Let's leave the floor to the brethren:
Morrissey's Hot Air colleague J.E. Dyer attacked the MSM malfeasance of... The Wall Street Journal, which had used the headline "Obama Retreats on Contraception." "What are they, USA Today?" asked Dyer. "I expected better of WSJ. I expect the editors to recognize the significance of distinctions like this, and refrain from using headlines that bolster a counterfactual narrative."
Look out! It's here to snap off your religious freedoms!
Dyer explained that not only were the insurance companies merely laundering the contraception money for baby-killers, as Morrissey argued -- they weren't even insurance companies anymore.
"If the federal government can step in and arbitrarily require a company to provide things for 'free' that were previously elective, premium-based services," reasoned Dyer, "then it is no longer an insurance company. We are not buying insurance from it; we are simply participating in a mandatory government program whose features can be changed at any time, regardless of what we or the 'insurers' want... the overriding reality that Catholic employers will be required to pay for "insurance" programs that distribute contraception to their employees."
Seen this way, the so-called "doctors" who are collaborating with Medicare are no longer practicing "medicine," but a similarly protean Big Government scam. And don't get us started on the "U.S." "Army."
Believe it or not, Dyer wasn't the only one who thought this way. "Why are we even calling it 'Health Insurance'?" asked toothpick at RedState. "What we are calling 'health insurance' is not health insurance at all. It's more of a purchasing pool which gives people the right to consume certain goods and services paid by a third party... Imagine paying a flat fee to Safeway for the right to pick up our weekly grocery haul (perhaps with a small co-pay at the cash register) - and calling it 'food insurance.'"
This whole pooled-risk thing is clearly a scam if toothpick can't get food insurance. Why did no one think of it before it became a multi-billion-dollar industry?
Burt Likko of the League of Ordinary Gentlemen agreed: "This is obviously a tissue of cover which those religious employers see through and does not assuage their concerns," he said, and hoped the Catholic Church would challenge this clearly unconstitutional act in court. "The question on this side of the test," he said, "would be whether being required to pay for contraception in an employee health care plan, whether directly or indirectly through a private insurer, imposes a burden on that belief," he said.
Perhaps unsure that he had directly or indirectly made his point, Likko brought out the intellectual big guns: "Think of it this way -- could Congress compel the RCC to pay for an abortion?" he thundered. "Never mind that it would never do such a thing, the question is could it?"
If the thought of Big Gummint shaking down Father Flotsky for abortion money displeases you, then the matter is settled. And even if Big Gummint gets the padre's money in a card game or in some business transaction instead, it's still abortion-contraception and unconstitutional. "An indirect compulsion to pay for something objectionable," Likko said, "is still a compulsion to pay for something objectionable..."