President Obama will not make any more changes to the bill announced last week requiring health insurance plans to provide women with coverage for contraception, although U.S. Roman Catholic bishops have said it violates the Church’s religious principles.
“We put out the plan that reflects where the president intended to go. This is our plan,” White House chief of staff Jacob Lew said on Sunday.
Lew, Obama’s budget director until last month, added that none of religious organization will be have to pay for or facilitate the coverage that it disagrees with since the insurance companies are the ones who will pay, says Reuters.
Asked what incentive insurance companies would have to provide contraception, Lew said it would be cost effective just like other preventive healthcare coverage.
“As somebody who’s done budgets for a lot of years, when people tell me things don’t cost money, I ask a lot of questions,” Lew told reporters. “This is actually one of those exceptions to the rule. If you look at the overall cost of providing healthcare to a woman, the cost goes up, not down, if you take contraceptives out.”
Chief of staff added the White House is not expecting everyone’s support for contraceptive coverage, but did find backing from several affected groups, such as Catholic hospitals and charities.
“We didn’t expect to get the support of the bishops or all Catholics,” Lew said.” He added on CBS’s “Face the Nation” that the White House has “broad consensus, not universal consensus. This is an approach that’s right.”
The Catholic representatives urged Congress to overturn the. Some bishops asked parishioners to speak out against the policy.
After some moves of Catholic groups, Barack Obama said that “religious employers would not be required to offer free birth control to workers and the onus would instead fall on insurers”.
The only way out is to accommodate religious organizations and universities that did not want to be forced to provide free contraceptive coverage to employees.
“We think it is a very good resolution of the problem,” Lew said. “It’s gotten the support of a wide range of organizations from Catholic charities and the Catholic Health Association to Planned Parenthood.”
However, many still against it, for example the Republican candidates vying to become their party’s nominee to face Obama in the November 6 presidential election.
“They’re forcing religious organizations, either directly or indirectly, to pay for something that they find is a deeply morally wrong thing and this is not what the government should be doing,” Republican candidate Rick Santorum said.
“The question is whether some religious organization should be forced to pay for something that they believe is a moral wrong,” Santorum, a staunch, said. “And the answer to that is no and under the Obama administration policy they are continuing to be forced to do so.”
Jose Florez, a doctor, Boston, also disagrees with the proposal: “This represents a departure from a time-honored practice in U.S. traditions and it is an intrusion of government in religious matters and private conscience.”
Christina Turullos, a Catholic from Austin, Texas, mentioned: “It’s really an abomination to our faith.”
Studies show 98% of Catholic women have used birth control.