The ongoing discussions between the Roman Catholic Church and the Obama Administration over the federally mandated health insurance coverage that includes services for family planning has lead to a compromise that is designed to take all priorities into account.
Catholic Bishops have been speaking out against the model for employer-provided health insurance which requires them to cover birth control and other family planning care products and services which they feel are morally wrong. Equally, though, the government feels that it is equally reprehensible to allow an employer to make an employee’s moral decisions.
What the compromise states is that employers that are religiously affiliated – such as Catholic schools, universities, and hospitals – are not required to pay for coverage for contraceptives. However, employees from those organizations who would like this coverage are permitted to request it, and they would be entitled to receive it from the insurance company without having to pay higher premiums.
The insurance industry has given their nod to this compromise because the cost of paying for family planning is lower than that of covering a pregnancy.
Though some American Catholic groups are applauding this agreement, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops is continuing their objection to the decision by saying that it is an interference to their religious rights. This group had previously objected that they should not be required to provide coverage for services that are against their religious beliefs. As the element of payment has now been removed from the religiously affiliated employers it has yet to be demonstrated how their rights are still being violated by the decision.
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