From the New York Times, 1/1/2014:
WASHINGTON — Justice Sonia Sotomayor on Tuesday temporarily blocked the Obama administration from forcing some religious-affiliated groups to provide health insurance coverage of birth control or face penalties as part of the Affordable Care Act.
This dispite the Administrations attempts to accomodate religious groups and thereby creating a nightmare for underwriters. Providing special riders to policies to accomodate what is likely to be a welter of 'religious exceptions of concience' to will result to increased premiums and very likely diminished coverage for us all.
It should be noted that contraception reduces health care costs: pregnancy is much, much expensive that its prevention, especially unwanted pregnancies with their associated low-birth weights and higher percentage of defective births.
Contraception is also prescribe for many conditions other than pregnancy prevention, from endometriosis to acne. Will policies allow prescription for conditions other than prevention? How would that work?
Orthodox Jews allow for chemical contraception, but prohibit mechanical contraception; will Jews require an exception to IUDs, but allow The Pill?
Will these exceptions venture into other areas? If you're employed by a Seventh-Day Adventist, will you wind up paying for that blood transfusion you received undergoing major surgery?
Sotamayor's injunction raises so many questions, primary among them Why require the Affordable Care Act to meet any religious objection to coverage? These objections are just attempts to impose on ;individuals to observe un-justifiable religious tenets, who may or not be members of the faith.
Gee, maybe we allow poll rank and file Catholics, 85% of whom have no objection to using contraception, decide this issue. I think that's the target for the Catholic hierarchy who have been largely unsuccessful in persuading their members to accept church canon in this area.
I don't like knowing that my premiums are higher because someone has addicted themself to alchohol and must pay for treatment. I may also object to paying for women's health. I'm a guy way past the age when I'm contemplating having another kid. .
But my objections are NOT religious. When viewed on their merits, they are poor ideas and not credible objections. Heath insurance is all about paying for other people's ills; it's all about shared risk and the greater public good.
The religious freedom argument is bogus. In no way does the ACA restrict an individual's religous practice. If one personally objects to using contraceptives, to abortion, to blood transfusions, don't use these drugs, don't avail yourself to such services!
The pathos of the Little Sisters of the Poor swayed the Justice's devoted Catholic mind. There is no objective standard for this exception. Were Justice Sotamayor a secular-minded judge, an atheist perhaps, no credit would be given to such an unworkable, impractical and unfair exceptions to the ACA.