Evening Lights and Pier wallpaper – Just The Facts About Insurance, Contraception Coverage and The Obama Rule Change

Evening Lights and Pier wallpaper


Limbaugh and the conservative echo chamber have become so loud and shrill it might be a good time to back up and get the basic facts straight about the contraception controversy, women’s rights, how or if religious freedom even enters into the debate once we know the facts and individual rights as an employee with health care coverage. This is the fact sheet released by the White House regarding mandated health insurance coverage for contraception.

February 10, 2012

FACT SHEET: Women’s Preventive Services and Religious Institutions

Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, most health insurance plans will cover women’s preventive services, including contraception, without charging a co-pay or deductible beginning in August, 2012.  This new law will save money for millions of Americans and ensure Americans nationwide get the high-quality care they need to stay healthy.

Today, President Obama will announce that his Administration will implement a policy that accommodates religious liberty while protecting the health of women. Today, nearly 99 percent of all women have used contraception at some point in their lives, but more than half of all women between the ages of 18-34 struggle to afford it.

Under the new policy to be announced today, women will have free preventive care that includes contraceptive services no matter where she works.  The policy also ensures that if a woman works for religious employers with objections to providing contraceptive services as part of its health plan, the religious employer will not be required to provide contraception coverage, but her insurance company will be required to offer contraceptive care free of charge.

The new policy ensures women can get contraception without paying a co-pay and addresses important concerns raised by religious groups by ensuring that objecting religious employers will not have to provide contraceptive coverage or refer women to organizations that provide contraception.  Background on this policy is included below:

Section 2713 of the Affordable Care Act, the Administration adopted new guidelines that will require most private health plans to cover preventive services for women without charging a co-pay starting on August 1, 2012.  These preventive services include well women visits, domestic violence screening, and contraception, and all were recommended to the Secretary of Health and Human Services by the independent Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Science.
Today, the Obama Administration will publish final rules in the Federal Register that:

Exempts churches, other houses of worship, and similar organizations from covering contraception on the basis of their religious objections.

Establishes a one year transition period for religious organizations while this policy is being implemented.

The President will also announce that his Administration will propose and finalize a new regulation during this transition year to address the religious objections of the non-exempted religious organizations. The new regulation will require insurance companies to cover contraception if the non-exempted religious organization chooses not to. Under the policy:

Religious organizations will not have to provide contraceptive coverage or refer their employees to organizations that provide contraception.

Religious organizations will not be required to subsidize the cost of contraception.

Contraception coverage will be offered to women by their employers’ insurance companies directly, with no role for religious employers who oppose contraception.

Insurance companies will be required to provide contraception coverage to these women free of charge.

Covering contraception saves money for insurance companies by keeping women healthy and preventing spending on other health services. For example, there was no increase in premiums when contraception was added to the Federal Employees Health Benefit System and required of non-religious employers in Hawaii.  One study found that covering contraception lowered premiums by 10 percent or more.

1. Let’s note that much of the conservative outrage is either manufactured or they have suddenly and conveniently found what they think is an issue they can milk for some kind of election advantage. In December of 2000 the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ruled that companies that provided prescription drugs to their employees but didn’t provide birth control were in violation of Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which prevents discrimination on the basis of sex. The Bush administration did not challenge this ruling. None of the conservative pundits – Limbaugh, O’Reilly, Fox News, conservatives in Congress or the conservative blogs had much to say. Insurance companies were found to be covering men’s health care specific procedures and medications, but not contraceptives for women.

2. The Right claims – without a shred of evidence or example that tax payers have to pay for women’s contraception and for women to indiscriminately have sex. For example, Bill O’Reilly Attacks Sandra Fluke: Claims She Wants Government To Pay For Her ‘Social Life’

Bill O’Reilly has joined Rush Limbaugh’s sexist assault on 30-year-old law student Sandra Fluke. On tonight’s broadcast, Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly attacked and mocked Sandra Fluke, claiming that Fluke was insisting the government pay for her “social life.” O’Reilly’s attack mirrors Limbaugh, who has insisted on that Fluke’s advocacy for contraception coverage is motivated by sexual promiscuity.

Bill O’Reilly’s attack is not only sexist and mean spirited, he has his facts completely wrong. Fluke is advocating for contraception to be covered under Georgetown University’s private insurance plan.

M’s Fluke has merely advocated for the legal opinion of the courts which the most right-wing conservative administration in our history supported. Employers should no more be able to deny health insurance coverage for contraception than medication for O’Relly’s enlarged prostate. O’Reilly did say he believed erectile dysfunction medication should be covered. In other words church affiliated institutions should be required by law to provide medication to men to help them achieve erections. Not always, men generally like to be able to have such physiological well being in order to have sex. Thus such men, to use the conservative logic, are sluts and prostitutes.

2. As the Fact Sheet notes no one has or is forcing churches to pay for contraceptives. This is such a simple statement of fact. The fact sheet is available at several places on the net. Perhaps part of the problem conservatives are having in discussing the issue is one of reading comprehension. Willful ignorance is another possibility. DePaul University, the largest Roman Catholic university in America, added birth control coverage to its plans after receiving an EEOC complaint several years ago. One would think that if the catholic hierarchy really believed that employees associated with its institutions should be denied certain medications under their insurance plan they would have proceeded with legal action. They have not. As of today there are no legal challenges being brought against the semi-new White House rules.

3. The vast majority – actually is you figure in standard statistical error, just about every woman in the USA uses or has used contraception. Most women regardless of political affiliation support the availability of contraception, including Catholic women. Catholics for Choice sited rulings by the Catholic Church itself as demonstration that the Vatican was pushing its rules too far on individual citizens of the U.S. –  Reclaiming religious freedom

Leaving aside that fact that many of the bishops already comply with similar existing state laws, it’s worth spending a few moments considering the subject of religious freedom from a Catholic point of view, for it is something that the Vatican has written on extensively — especially in “Dignitatis Humanae,” the Declaration on Religious Freedom.

[  ]…In fact, by not bowing to the USCCB’s pressure tactics and instituting a more expansive conscience exemption, the Obama administration respected Catholic religious teachings in the Declaration on Religious Freedom, which said, “Government is to see to it that equality of citizens before the law, which is itself an element of the common good, is never violated, whether openly or covertly, for religious reasons.” In this case, the bishops are the ones who are seeking the “discrimination among citizens” with their quest for an ever-larger exemption for religious institutions.

Catholics are called to demonstrate “respect both for the rights of others and for their own duties toward others and for the common welfare of all” in the “careful observance of the principle of religious freedom.” We can only hope that the bishops take this important Catholic teaching into account as this debate continues.

For whatever reasons American bishops have decided to take a sudden and by their own teaching, inexplicable far Right turn.

A conservative propagandist Dana Loesch  at Big Journalism opens up her entire factless diatribe with this opening – Republicans Fall For Manufactured Story

The Obama administration withered for several weeks under the intense criticism from Catholic leaders regarding the forced violation of religious liberty within the HHS mandate. In an effort to turn the tables, Democrats suggested that the GOP want to abridge women’s rights because Republicans expect women to obtain and pay for their own birth control. This afternoon John Boehner, Carly Fiorina, and Rick Santorum bravely provided cover for the President and the ridiculous narrative of “the war on women.”

No spelling errors. Other than that she obviously lacks basic reading and analytical skills. There is plenty of this particular straw-man argument across the hallowed halls of Wingnuttia – “Republicans expect women to obtain and pay for their own birth control”. She could have written for Soviet Pravda in its heyday. The argument in this case is about health care coverage for which women are paying and expect full coverage, not just the bits and pieces of health care coverage conservatives feel deep in their little hearts women should have. Everyone is paying for Michelle Bachmann and her husband’s quackery medical procedures, subsidizing the shenanigans of vulture capitalist like Mitt Romney and being forced to subsidize Exxon and BP – two of the world’s most profitable corporations. All of Breitabrt’s “Big” sites are a great study in alternative universes. Both the regular contributors and the commuters are the kind of people who go out and buy a do-it-yourself-surgery kit when they have a brain tumor.

This post brings up an interesting point,

OK, maybe it’s an inadvertent dog whistle. In any case, it’s not condemnation:

Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum labeled Rush Limbaugh “absurd” over disparaging remarks from the radio talk show host directed at a law student who testified before a House panel in support of access to contraceptives.

“He’s being absurd, but that’s you know, an entertainer can be absurd,” Santorum told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on Friday. “He’s in a very different business than I am.”

The key word here is “absurd,” because it’s a word Limbaugh proudly uses. For years he’s described what he does as “demonstrating absurdity by being absurd” — in fact, the title of a chapter in his first book was “People: Think for Yourselves, Or Demonstrating Absurdity By Being Absurd.” In fact, just today he described his sex-video remark about Sandra Fluke as “illustrating absurdity here by being absurd.”

Either Santorum knows all this (and as a card-carrying movement conservative, he presumably would) or Santorum in understands that saying this is an easy way to attack Limbaugh without actually attacking him.

Over the years Limbaugh has claimed to be the truth teller exposing terrible things like a woman’s right to equal access to health insurance coverage and to be an entertainer. When he starts talking about being an entertainer he knows he has gone too far. That is the Limbaugh version of a walk-back. Limbaugh wants to have it both ways: he is just a harmless radio clown entertaining the tin-foil hat wearers of America or he is a serious analyst of politics and public policy. When should we take him seriously. Is their a secret decoder ring that ditto heads order through the mail. If he is going to compare absurdities shouldn’t he start with an absurdity based on an actual fact or is the new comic absurdity to make up one’s own facts and than make a sick comparison, thus assuring himself that he just won an argument based on a fairy tale version of events. Its not called the right-wing echo chamber for nothing.

Conservative Republicans Move So Far to The Extreme In Their Anti-American Values, They Oppose Violence Against Women Act

Does one really need another example of Washington gridlock? Likely not, especially if you read this blog from time to time, where obstruction of judicial nominations is noted often. But we’ll note one anyway, not for the process, but more as an example of just how ridiculous it’s all becoming.

As noted, possibly wryly by an editorial from The New York Times even in the “ultrapolarized atmosphere of Capitol Hill,” one would think that reauthorization of a once wildly bipartisan effort to combat violence against women could remain an exception to the out-of-control congressional obstructionism.

Last month, however, the Senate Judiciary Committee could not muster one Republican vote in favor of “a well-crafted reauthorization,” of the Violence Against Women Act, which has been reauthorized twice with bipartisan support since its inception in 1994. Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Michael Crapo (R-Idaho), not a member of the Judiciary Committee, are sponsoring the reauthorization measure.

Reporting for The Huffington Post, Amanda Terkel, notes that several of the measure’s enhanced features have irked conservatives. Not surprisingly increased protections for minorities, specifically for the LGBT community, Native American women and immigrants, have spurred conservative lawmakers’ opposition.

If you are a non-native American and you commit a crime against a women on reservation land, failure to renew the VAWA makes it very difficult to prosecute. If a female illegal immigrant is assaulted, sure she is here illegally, is the conservative concept of justice that she deserves to be battered or raped as part of the punishment for being here illegally. Just another example of conservatism’s true values. They embrace injustice and brutality, and call that freedom.

Just noticed some more bad news for Mittens, Mitt Romney’s Advice For ObamaCare: Look At RomneyCare

Republican Presidential frontrunner Mitt Romney often fends off the attacks comparing the similarities between the plan he signed in Massachusetts in 2006 and ObamaCare by saying he took a federalist approach. The former Massachusetts Governor says his plan was done on a state level, where the central theme to both plans, the individual mandate, was a actually a conservative approach.

But in a July 2009 op-ed in USA Today Romney thought the President could learn a thing or two from the plan he signed into law in Massachusetts, including using the individual mandate as an incentive for people to buy insurance.

Mitt Romney closet Marxist.