No man­date ex­emp­tion for re­li­gious groups

The Washington Times Daily - - Opinion -

The Washington Times persists in re­port­ing that the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion has “agreed to ex­empt re­li­gion-af­fil­i­ated uni­ver­si­ties, char­i­ties and hos­pi­tals” from its con­tra­cep­tive cov­er­age man­date (“Lim­baugh apol­ogy gar­ners bi­par­ti­san ap­proval,” Web, Sun­day). How­ever, this is not the case.

On Feb. 10, the ad­min­is­tra­tion’s con­tro­ver­sial man­date and its in­cred­i­bly nar­row re­li­gious ex­emp­tion were fi­nal­ized “with­out change.” The pub­lished rule says four times that it is fi­nal­iz­ing this pol­icy “with­out change.” The ad­min­is­tra­tion says it may is­sue an ad­di­tional rule by Au­gust re­gard­ing the man­ner in which this man­date will be im­posed on the many re­li­gious or­ga­ni­za­tions that re­main “nonex­empt.”

The cen­tral fea­ture of this pro­posal is that since it is against these or­ga­ni­za­tions’ con­sciences to cover such items, in­sur­ers (act­ing on or­ders from the gov­ern­ment) will in­sert the items into the cov­er­age in­stead.

This is not an ex­emp­tion, and even the ad­min­is­tra­tion has not claimed that it is. All these or­ga­ni­za­tions’ em­ploy­ees will be cov­ered by the man­date. Any new pol­icy that did ex­pand the re­li­gious ex­emp­tion would be il­le­gal un­der the rule that has been fi­nal­ized, which the ad­min­is­tra­tion says it will not change.

RICHARD M. DO­ER­FLINGER

Washington

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