Kathleen Sebelius’ defense of the new ObamaCare mandate is pathetic

Pathetic is a very strong derogatory word, but I think it’s apt when looking at Kathleen Sebelius’ defense for the Obama administration’s recent mandate that all employers must purchase insurance that provides their employees with birth control, sterilization and morning-after pills.  A fisking is in order (all hyperlinks in original omitted):

One of the key benefits of the 2010 health care law is that many preventive services are now free for most Americans with insurance. Vaccinations for children, cancer screenings for adults and wellness visits for seniors are all now covered in most plans with no expensive co-pays or deductibles. So is the full range of preventive health services recommended for women by the highly respected Institute of Medicine, including contraception.

[Don’t you love that concept of “free”?  In fact, nothing’s free.  It’s simply that the plan shifts the cost from employee to employer — so that the employer has less money for salaries, other benefits, new job creation, facility maintenance, etc.  But it’s all good in Obama-land.  I also like the way that the only one of the “full range of preventive health services recommended for women” that Sebelius names is the fairly non-controversial “contraception.”  To those who haven’t been paying attention to the details, the message is clear:  all those conservatives are getting their knickers into a twist for nothing.]

Today, virtually all American women use contraception at some point in their lives. And we have a large body of medical evidence showing it has significant benefits for their health, as well as the health of their children. But birth control can also be quite expensive, costing an average of $600 a year, which puts it out of reach for many women whose health plans don’t cover it.

[Again, in a marvel of sleight of hand, Sebelius is pretending that this whole uproar is about nothing more than contraception.  As a matter of law, deceit includes misrepresentation through omission.  This is deceitful.  Also, note that careful language, to the effect that “birth control can also be quite expensive.”  Aside from the fact that those are wiggle words, she’s doing the same thing that Babs Boxer did, which is to try to cast this as an economic issue, when it is, in fact, a much deeper one:  the morality and Constitutionality of forcing religious institutions to subsidize a doctrinally offensive practice.]

The public health case for making sure insurance covers contraception is clear. But we also recognize that many religious organizations have deeply held beliefs opposing the use of birth control.

[Is that all she’s got?  The fact that for some people birth control can cost $600 per year is her entire “public health case for making sure insurance covers contraception” is her justification for a vast cost-shifting program that requires practically every employer in America to subsidize insurance that covers women in the workforce between age 16 and menopause?  Remember, this “clear” case will cost employers a bundle, a cost that will inevitably be shared out to old people, infertile people, gay people, celibate people, etc.  How nice of Sebelius, secure in her own lack of logic, to recognize that her little economic scenario might offend core religious beliefs.  Fear not, though.  She’s got an answer for those offended people.]

That’s why in the rule we put forward, we specifically carved out from the policy religious organizations that primarily employ people of their own faith. This exemption includes churches and other houses of worship, and could also include other church-affiliated organizations.

[We covered this often, so I won’t go on at length.  The exemption is so narrow that it pretty much covers only the smallest of churches, the one staffed by two nuns and a priest, all three of whom do the janitorial and grounds maintenance work too.]

In choosing this exemption, we looked first at state laws already in place across the country. Of the 28 states that currently require contraception to be covered by insurance, eight have no religious exemption at all.

[This one really steamed me.  Someone in the Obama administration forgot to read the Constitution.  You see, states have broader rights vis a vis individuals than does the Federal government.  This makes sense because (a) the feds have more coercive power than the states and (b) it’s easier to relocate from a state you don’t like, than to be forced to emigrate from a country that’s oppressing you.  If Alabama is too rough, go to California.  If the Obama government is coming after you, though, it’s a lot harder to find a safe haven.]

The religious exemption in the administration’s rule is the same as the exemption in Oregon, New York and California.

[See comments above.]

It’s important to note that our rule has no effect on the longstanding conscience clause protections for providers, which allow a Catholic doctor, for example, to refuse to write a prescription for contraception. Nor does it affect an individual woman’s freedom to decide not to use birth control. And the president and this administration continue to support existing conscience protections.

[Again, sleight of hand.  What doctors can or cannot do is not the issue.  The issue is that faith-based organizations are being forced by the federal government to subsidize a product that offends core doctrinal beliefs.  If that isn’t a violation of the First Amendment, I don’t know what is.]

This is not an easy issue. But by carving out an exemption for religious organizations based on policies already in place, we are working to strike the right balance between respecting religious beliefs and increasing women’s access to critical preventive health services.

[To which I have a last word:  Feh!]

To its credit, USA Today, which hosted Sebelius’ advocacy piece, openly disagrees with her — and provides a link to its opposition right in the body of her dishonest little essay.

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  • Old Buckeye

    The very essence of this mandate is flawed in that contraception is not health care unless you think of pregnancy as a disease. What the American people are being told they are going to subsidize for others are lifestyle choices.

  • Libby

    By her logic she could justify making all health care providers cover the costs for (or make “free” in her warped world) botox and face lifts. All women from age 30 on will have to deal with wrinkles, and not only could she find some plastic surgeon’s organization to claim that it provides mental health benefits, but it can be costly, too (and that’s not “fair”, right?). True, botox and facelifts are optional procedures, and not every woman believes that this is a good idea, but if she can force all employers to cover abortions, then why not cosmetic surgery?

  • post_tenebras_lux

    Remember Tiller the Baby Killer?  This was his assistant.  She is well versed in the baby killing business.

  • http://OgBlog.net Earl

    I’d love for you to change a word or two in your analysis, BW…..here’s what you wrote:
    The issue is that faith-based organizations are being forced by the federal government to subsidize a product that offends core doctrinal beliefs. 
    What they are being forced to do is to provide a product or service they believe is sinful, even though doing so violates their consciences….
    Furthermore, it’s not just “religious” people.  There are atheists who understand that human life begins at conception and who hold human life sacred from the moment it is conceived until natural death.  If one of them is running a small company and wishes to provide health insurance to their employees, they will come into conflict with the federal government, and have to choose to obey the law or follow their conscience.
    I don’t see this as just a conflict between “church and state”…..it’s a bunch of progressives using the federal government to stamp on the Constitutional rights of EVERY American.
    And those who figure that they aren’t affected are going to learn where you end up when you say “When they came for the Catholics…..”, and I expect it will happen sooner than they might expect if we don’t make a U-turn in November.

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com Ymarsakar

    Another example of the great societal harmony and good the Left will bring to us all, come the Revolution.

  • 11B40


    Well, I suppose that in an age when a sexual disorientation can be de-dissed to an orientation, it shouldn’t surprise too many that a medical interference with a properly operating system can be called a treatment. My limited knowledge in this area (I was a “No OB-GYN in the print shop printer.”) seems to include that all those feminist cast-iron panties went into more than a bit of a twist when Viagra showed up on the market. Because Viagra treated an actual biological disfunction, it was eligible for health insurance coverage while contraceptives which didn’t were not eligible for any wealth redistribution programs. 

    I would have thought that Planned (non) Parenthood would have wanted to protect their money-maker but I guess they can always shake down other non-profits for the lost revenue.

  • Charles Martel

    I ran around with a pretty radical crowd when I was 19. I supposed I was a communist of sorts, very disenchanted with “the Establishment” and wary of the government. But deep in my heart I just wasn’t all that much of a firebrand. I was well-read enough and aware enough to know that the U.S. government simply was not the evil thing that my Marx-besotted peers contended it was. I just couldn’t bring myself to want to see it overthrown, let alone rattled all that hard.
    Now, 40+ years later, I would sincerely like to see that government diminished, resisted, thwarted, amputated, curbed, and starved into a fine gauntness. The people I once ran with are now in charge of that government—fashionably anti-American, insufferably arrogant, morally bankrupt people. 
    Down with the federal government.

  • Danny Lemieux

    All this just supports the adage, scratch a Liberal, find a fascist. Apparently, for much of our population (many of whom I am convinced could not define socialism or communism), this is a lesson that has to be learned over and over again…like Ground Hog Day.

    • http://bookwormroom.com Bookworm

      I’m beginning to realize why I fell into the bad habit of observing post comments without chiming in. My instinct, after reading each of your comments, was simply to say “hear, hear,” or “ditto,” or “by gum, that’s right!” If I reply to each of you, it will just be a long list of comments saying, “Yes!” So I’ll just do it once, here and now: As to all of your comments, “YES!”

  • jj

    What I find most bothersome – the Catholic Church doesn’t need my help to voice their objections – is the creation of yet another, I guess you’d have to call it, ‘protected’ class.  Or maybe ‘favoured’ class.  (I prefer the archaic spelling.)  My taxes go for ‘free’ contraceptives, ‘free’ abortions, ‘free’ breast exams – how come I have to pay for my own prostate exams?  Don’t just as many males die from prostate cancer as females do from breast cancer?  How did women get to be a protected class?  I too am the people, dammit!  What kind of double-shuffle, off-the-bottom-of-the-deck deal is this?
    The most pathetic thing about almost anything Sebelius says is the mouth from which it came.

  • http://bookwormroom.com Bookworm

    That’s right, jj.  And I’m starting to see the crow’s feet develop.  Aren’t the aged a protected class?  I’m ready for my close-up, Mr. DeMille, as soon as I’ve had my free plastic surgery.

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  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com Ymarsakar

    A society of slaves, has no right to anything except what the Master decides to dish out.

    That’s what Americans have forgotten, in their desire to be the cogs of a socialist paradise. 

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  • Ron19

    “Today, virtually all American women use contraception at some point in their lives”

    The one contraceptive that every woman (except Sandra Fluke, maybe) and every man (except for Bill Clinton and some basketball players) has used for at least a short period is abstinence.

    Isn’t it amazing that this is the most controversial contraceptive in our society and politics?

  • Ron19


    Men not only get prostrate cancer, they also get breast cancer.  Is this covered?

  • Ron19

    Wasn’t the Catholic exception only for one year?  So that the Church would have some time to figure out how they would abandon their principles before they started contraception coverage?

    I thought I saw that a few months ago, but I haven’t seen it mentioned since.

    Does anyone else remember this?

  • Ron19

    re my comment 17, I found it: http://www.hhs.gov/news/press/2012pres/01/20120120a.html 

    January 20, 2012

    Contact: HHS Press Office
    (202) 690-6343

    A statement by U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius


    After evaluating comments, we have decided to add an additional element to the final rule. Nonprofit employers who,

    based on religious beliefs, do not currently provide contraceptive coverage in their insurance plan,

    will be provided an additional year, until August 1, 2013, to comply with the new law.


    This additional year will allow these organizations more time and flexibility to adapt to this new rule. 

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