It’s always in the Fine Print: War on Birth Control Edition

"Bitter Pill" Series by Susan Blanton of Austin

Just when I thought the administration might actually stand up for medical science and women for a change, out comes the details on the HHS Insurance coverage including a large loophole for religious employers that want to force their narrow religious views on others.   Actually, the loophole is so big you could drive a few tanks through it.  Fortunately, it’s not a final draft so we still have time to scream bloody murder about it. Basically, all an offending organization has to do is ‘self insure itself.

Here’s a good explanation from  Peterr over at FDL.

That “self insurance” loophole is a huge exemption. Look for any Roman Catholic institutions that aren’t self-insured already to set themselves up that way in short order.

If you wish to take HHS up on their offer to listen to comments on this proposal, page 3 of the pdf has four ways to submit your thoughts. The first is electronically, via They say to “follow the instructions under the ‘More Search Options’ tab.” Unfortunately, is down for maintenance today. (You’ll probably need the file code: CMS-9968-ANPRM.)

But wait! There’s more from HHS on contraception. Again from NCR:

News of the changes also came as a separate ruling on student health insurance coverage was announced by the Department of Health and Human Services this afternoon. Under that ruling, health care plans for students would be treated like those of employees of colleges and universities — meaning the colleges will have to provide contraceptive services to students without co-pay.

Religiously affiliated colleges and universities, however, would be shielded from this ruling, according to a statement from the HHS.

Sandra Fluke and her classmates at Georgetown — a Roman Catholic institution — continue to be out of luck, it seems. Unlike the first announcement, this is a “final rule” [pdf] and not a proposal.

This came out on Friday so the chances of it hitting any major news outlet is pretty slim.  Rush Limbaugh won’t be able to say take that you sluts until at least Monday.  This wasn’t exactly announced in a Rose Garden Presser.  If the administration really expects women to support the President’s re-election efforts then they really need to start treating us all with a little more respect.  I’m beginning to get the feeling that politicians must think we don’t read or don’t vote.

13 Comments on “It’s always in the Fine Print: War on Birth Control Edition”

  1. Sandra Fluke was on MHP this AM & MHP asked her about the new rules released on “take out the trash day (Friday)”. She said she was fine with it. Her only caveat was that religious universities & hospitals were given a year to comply. She suggested that employees & students write to the administration to ask that they not wait a year & adopt the new rules immediately. Apparently her understanding differs from the source you’ve quoted. Maybe women should just get hysterectomies & send their uteri to Congress or the Pope.

    • dakinikat says:

      I dunno … how do you interpret this?

      In addition, we note that this exemption is available to religious employers in a variety of arrangements. For example, a Catholic elementary school may be a distinct common-law employer from the Catholic diocese with which it is affiliated. If the school’s employees receive health coverage through a plan established or maintained by the school, and the school meets the definition of a religious employer in the final regulations, then the religious employer exemption applies. If, instead, the same school provides health coverage for its employees through the same plan under which the diocese provides coverage for its employees, and the diocese is exempt from the requirement to cover contraceptive services, then neither the diocese nor the school is required to offer contraceptive coverage to its employees.

      • You’ve got me. I was just relaying what Ms. Fluke said today about the new regs. I figured both as a law student & her involvement with this issue that she knew what she was talking about. But, it’s one of those he said she said situations. I’m not qualified to say which one is correct. Ask me about cats or manatees & I should be able to pick a side pretty easily.

      • bostonboomer says:

        It sounds to me like Obama just pulled another fast one. I’m back to not voting for him, frankly.

      • Minkoff Minx says:

        I knew that Obama was full of shit! That is why when he made the move to cover birth control and then caved to the bishops the first time, I didn’t buy it and got so worked up about it. Outrageous!

    • Fannie says:

      Speaking of the Pope – Richest Man on eart?

      How DARE the US President defy the Vatican…………………………………….

    • dakinikat says:

      I think the issue is that this document has a portion that’s been adopted and then another portion that has now been put out there for “comment” that has a broader loophole raising the issue of what exactly are they going to negotiate away now?

  2. jackyt says:

    The only way any politician will even get a whiff of a passing nod from me is when I hear:

    Freedom of religion guarantees the right of each individual to practice any religion of his or her choosing. It does not guarantee, and it does not allow, any one or any institution to impose its religious beliefs on any one else. Withholding women’s health care services is not religious freedom. It is denying 53% of the population their right to exercise religious freedom.

    No mealy-mouthed appeasement is acceptable. I demand my rights, and my daughter’s rights, and my daughter’s daughters rights! Damnit!!

    P.S. Of course I voted for Hillary since she supports, unfailingly, my right to autonomy.

  3. OT:

    My post at Taylor Marsh’s this evening.

    Love and Miss Y’all! Hope to be back to better blogging manners in April!

  4. Outis says:

    This is why I never give Obama “the benefit of the doubt” or claim he’s “grown into the position.” Fear of the Republican clown car has given him free reign to pull fast ones and look good. And in my own reactionary doldrums I wonder how exactly is this Democratic appeasement different from wignut prostration.

    • The Rock says:

      HONK!! HONK!!
      The media spun this initially as a great accomplishment for Bumbles, but I had my reservations because it was Bumbles. He truly is the one-eyed-man in the land of the blind. The only problem is that more and more people are starting to see. There is absolutely no reason, religious or otherwise, why any part of ‘women’s healthcare’ should be separate from any other part of healthcare in general. Period (no pun intended). Until that is made clear by this administration as well as Dems in general, they can all rot in a pile of their own excrement.


      Hillary 2012