HHS MANDATE – SOME OF MY THOUGHTS

I am a Roman Catholic who sells Health Insurance in the State of Arizona. The most recent HHS Mandate about contraceptives has a major impact on me personally and professionally.

I wanted to start this piece by clarifying some misunderstandings. The State of Arizona is one of the 28 states that have already mandated contraceptives in health insurance plans. Every policy I sell covers contraceptive care. If that is the case then it would appear that the problem is only that the Government is asking the Catholic Church and her institutions to pay for something that they find immoral.

While the conflict of Religious Liberty is very important there is something else occurring that seems to be missed.

Let us start with the claim that the mandate actually changed nothing in Arizona as contraceptives are already mandated. That is categorically untrue. The HHS Mandate moves all “FDA approved contraceptive measures” under the definition of “well care”. By doing that all these methods have to be covered absolutely free of charge to the insureds. Many people consider some of these contraceptives, like the morning after pill, to be abortifacient.

While I will not rant about my own deeply held beliefs, I will mention that this mandate will require business owners who have moral concerns about some of these contraceptive measures to pay for them in full through their insurance premium. There is no conscience clause available to them in any of these considerations.

I cannot help but wonder why this mandate was considered so important. Prior to the mandate, I have never heard that the cost and availability of contraceptive care was a major health concern. People talk to me all the time about their problems with health care and insurance procedures. I know of people who have to take many expensive drugs to live. Their policies have no out of pocket limits on prescription co-pays. That would have been a good idea. Despite all the regulations, there still does not exist an outlet for a person with serious pre-existing conditions to get an individual plan in Arizona. Every week I have to tell people that short of going on ACHSS, there is no policy that they can buy. This is a still a very serious problem. Why was there such an urgent need for free contraceptives?

I have clients with major expenses due to diabetes, people facing organ transplants, pregnant women, and people needing chemo. They all need insurance coverage and I have to say to them that I have no place to send them. The government has decided, against advice from religious institutions, that the public need for free contraceptives was the most pressing need of the day.

This mandate has polarized the country. It has started a lot of silliness like suggesting the Catholic Church is trying to take something away from people. In my opinion, none of this was necessary.

…..More to come.

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