President Obama’s compromise on the contraception mandate is a complete fraud. Instead of requiring Catholic organizations to offer contraception, they require insurance companies to provide the contraception “free of charge”. Of course, “free of charge” means that the insurer will pass the cost on the payer (the aforementioned Catholic organizations), but it’s okay (we are told), because the insurer won’t be allowed to list contraception as a specific line item. Instead, the insurer will have to spread the cost throughout.
But wait, it’s worse than that. The whole thing is a lie. The administration isn’t even implementing the supposed compromise. The final regulation was promulgated Friday. After 17 pages of smokescreen, it contained the actual legal language, of which the very last paragraph reads:
Accordingly, the amendment to the interim final rule with comment period amending 45 CFR 147.130(a)(1)(iv) which was published in the Federal Register at 76 FR 46621-46626 on August 3, 2011, is adopted as a final rule without change.
UPDATE: Greg Mankiw puts it nicely:
Consider these two policies:
A. An employer is required to provide its employees health insurance that covers birth control.
B. An employer is required to provide its employees health insurance. The health insurance company is required to cover birth control.
I can understand someone endorsing both A and B, and I can understand someone rejecting both A and B. But I cannot understand someone rejecting A and embracing B, because they are effectively the same policy.
Of course, the fact also remains that the policy is actually staying at A.
UPDATE: The Obama administration didn’t even consult with the Catholic church in determining its “compromise”.