The other day I wrote about Obama’s sleight of hand trick in which he said religious institutions would not have to cover the cost of contraceptives under ObamaCare but their insurance companies would — a distinction without a difference.
In that blog I quoted conservative icon Justice Antonin Scalia in a 1990 ruling that said religions could not skirt the law under the guise of the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment. To which I argued that the law needed to address a compelling interest to in the first place.
I forgot that the decision, Employment Division v. Smith, prompted Congress to pass the Religious Freedom Restoration Act three years later. That law, as a column in The Wall Street Journal today reminds me, says a federal law may overstep the Free Exercise Clause only if there is “a compelling governmental interest” and it is applied in “the least restrictive means” of accomplishing that interest.
As I have heard over and over in countless news stories and opinion pieces arguing in support of Obama’s mandate, 99 percent of American women use contraceptives at some time in their lives. So if 99 percent already have access, where is the compelling need to require all health insurance companies to provide it for free? Might there be a less restrictive means of doing so?
You could hand it out on street corners and it probably would be less expensive than the insurance mandate and stamp on no one’s religious beliefs and exercise thereof.
The WSJ op-ed by David Rivkin Jr. and Edward Whelan concludes that the whole thing is really about politics. Isn’t everything Obama does just about politics and his re-election?
“In an effort to rally its base in the upcoming November election, the Obama administration seems more interested in punishing religiously based opposition to contraception and abortion than in marginally increasing access to contraception services. It is the combination of the political motive, together with the exclusion of so many employers from the mandate, that has profound constitutional implications. It transforms the mandate into a non-neutral and not generally applicable law that violates the First Amendment’s Free Exercise Clause.
“In short, the birth-control mandate violates both statutory law and the Constitution. The fact that the administration promulgated it so flippantly, without seriously engaging on these issues, underscores how little it cares about either.”
It is another move they had to backpedal on and in doing so got to blame Republicans and more directly hit Romney on an issue he has some history in th MA health care law.
The difference being in the states a law like that is not unconstitutional. It is when it is a federal law that it violates the Constitution as we hopefully will find in a few months.
Supreme Court arguments at end of March. 26 states filled arguments recently but I can’t find a copy online. Anyone?
healthcare reform legal briefs can be found at http://acalitigationblog.blogspot.com/
But please keep talking about contraception.
All the way to the election.
By the way – I’m please Mr. Mitchell does not buy the bogus constitutional argument against requiring health insurance plans to cover contraception. The “statutory” argument is even more bogus. But by all means sue the President on it!
Thanks for the link, Petey.
It’s all politics and vote buying $20 a week payroll tax cut and free contrceptives. When Buddy Leach was accused of doing it in Louisiana, it was called vote buying. And that was just a bottle of whiskey.
Wow that is a take on it Tom!
20 bucks for a cheap room and birth control provided free.
Yep that is vote buying, at is finest.
It got Buddy Leach indicated, but not convicted.
Yes, all just political vote buying.
But grounded on detailed recommendations from the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences.
That is good the medical profession looking to save lives through prevention. That is, after all, part of their oath.
The health care law is about insurance. Insurance talks money. If we are talking about savings from this preventive care it does not exist.
From a moral standpoint we should all take good preventive measures for ourselves and they are all available for us today, especially women. There are a plethora of programs available to women right now for these very issues. Search it if you don’t believe me and I know you don’t.
This raises the question, just WTF do we need to legislate morality?
It is true that the Congressional Budget Office determined that, in scoring various healthcare reform proposals for their budgetary impact, preventative health care in general could not be clearly proven to save money. We liberals who supported the healthcare reforms are willing to accept that ‘scoring” judgment.
However, most healthcare economists agree that easy access to contraceptives more than pays for itself in lowered costs for maternity care, ob/gyn and STD prevention. The actuarial studies are summarized here:
Thanks for that nyp.
We all know easy and inexpensive access to contraceptives is fully available right now, no new legislation needed. Heck even HPV shots are fully available for little or no cost in many cases right now, no additional legislation needed. http://cancer.about.com/od/hp1/f/hpvvaccinecost.htm
Now could you liberals get your president to stop lying to us?
No, it is not easy and it is not inexpensive if you are a working class woman in a minimum wage job. Wurveys show that nearly one in four women with household incomes of less than $75,000 have put off a doctor’s visit for birth control to save money in the past year. Twenty-nine percent of women report that they have tried to save money by using their method inconsistently.
More than half of young adult women say they have not used their method as directed because it was cost-prohibitive.
The pill costs almost $1,000 per year. Patches are $1200.
By the way, what are these “lies”?
nyp follow the about.com link and read it. Then tell us about how bad it all is for those poor people making less than 75 grand a year. Man what a load of crap you can dump on the world.
The recent lie is the “savings from preventive care” you know, that politifact link I provided you apparently did not follow. Talk about ignorance being bliss, you are full of bliss nyp.
1. You think that $360 plus office visit fees for the HPV vaccine for a young woman earning $27,000 annually is nothing. I happen to disagree.
2. You ignore completely the evidence that many working class women have a difficult time affording the annual cost of effective birth control. You simply ignore it.
3. Your standards for accusing the President of the United States of spreading “lies” are pretty low. I am well are of both the “Polifact” report you cite and of the CBO budget scoring upon which it is based. CBO’s projections of cost savings (in all matters) are deliberately, and justifiably conservative. Unless a policy action has been empirically demonstrated to save money, CBO will not score it as a money saver. That scepticism may well make sense for fiscal budgeting. But it doesn’t mean that someone who says that preventative care saves money is a liar. Numerous studies have pointed to preventative treatments — smoking cessation, colorectal screening, vaccinations, flu shots – that significantly reduce mortality either at a cost saving or at low cost. See Maciosek MV, Coffield AB, Edwards NM, Flottemesch TJ, Goodman MJ, Solberg LI. Priorities among effective clinical preventive services: results of a systematic review and analysis. Am J Prev Med 2006;31:52-61. By the same token, there are certainly preventative measures (whole body MRIs, for example) that don’t save money. But is that really sufficient for you to start calling the President of the United States a liar?
1) you did not read down to the place where they describe the ways to get that shot series for no cost.
2) Effective birth control is a lifestyle choice nyp. Everything else comes with risk of pregnancy.
3) Tell that to Dr. Desai’s patients nyp. You see when money is involved on those levels and it limits competition the temptation to use people becomes overwhelming. Desai is evidence of insurance fraud to the 2nd degree (murder) level. Just let that stuff get even more paper to bury the evidence, great idea, thanks for that.
3a) I didn’t call your president a liar I said he is lying that this preventative care will save money. That does not make your president a liar it makes him guilty of one lie. From your spin above it is clear you wish to remain blind to the lie your president is spreading.
Politifact deserves quotes? wow 😐 I guess the Pulitzer committee needs to be informed of your disdain.
OH and another thing. Just for your nyp
Money that has not yet been taxed yet must be paid back. The only way to do that is to tax it.
1. Yes, I do not have a high opinion of “Polifact.”
2. Saying that preventative care saves saves live and money is not a lie, and people who say so are not liars.
3. I don’t know what you mean when you say “effective birth control’ is a lifestyle choice, but I don’t think I like it. And most public health experts would disagree with you.
The real question in this years presidential race ( and in a lesser frame, Congress and the Senate) is whether the American people want big government to manage and control their finances, and their lives, on a personal level.
Financially, I wouldn’t trust these bozos to run a hot dog stand (something Ø should have done, prior to becoming President!). They haven’t passed a budget in 1000+ days, and the Senate voted down Ø’s budget, last year, by a vote of 97-0.
Think about that, petey. Harry THE CROOK has no intention of proposing a budget this year, but we’ll end up spending $1.5 trillion more than we take in (just like the last 3 years).
So, I say again, do the American people WANT the nanny state to command every detail of our lives, and if yes, how do they expect to pay for it? My faith in the American spirit is such that your champions will be roundly dismissed come November. The caveat is whether the Republicans put a standard bearer that will give the people a clear choice.
Which is something we didn’t have, last time, with Jumping John McShamnesty.
Which one of the last standing GOP four is a clear choice, Athos?
And how many servings of vegetables a day are recommended, Petey? Should the government cover the cost and supervise the consumption?
Assuming contraception is cost effective, too expensive for the poor and ever other argument you make about the “need,” Petey. Making everyone tax for it through private insurance is unconstitutional. I would have less problem with just using tax money (charity would be better) to buy the stuff and give it away on the street corner. Still redistributionist, but more efficient.
So nyp effective birth control (I used the very words you posted) prevents the spread of STD’s?
If so then why does every ad for BCP’s have the disclaimer about not preventing the spread of STD’s?
Birth control is not a health issue in itself. It is only an issue if the female is in danger of health risks associated with pregnancy. It is a secondary item and in that case is a health issue not a lifestyle choice.
When used as 90% use birth control it is so they can have sex with a largely reduced chance of a resulting pregnancy. Every birth control method employed has a risk of a resulting pregnancy. It is only through a lifestyle choice that one may fully prevent pregnancy.
Hence birth control used only to reduce the risk of pregnancy, which is 90% of its use, is a lifestyle choice and one I support for anyone who chooses. I do not force my beliefs on them and I do not want them to force their beliefs on me.
John Cochrane in WSJ: “And by making pills free but not condoms, the government may inadvertently be contributing to an increase in sexually transmitted diseases.”
What are my choices for Pres? Don’t hold me to this but Newt, Rick, Ron, and Mittens are the order I like.
Maybe interchange Newt and Rick.
But I do wish there was someone else. Not named Bush. Not picked by Carl Rove. It’s a shame they took out the pizza guy.
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