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Published On: Tue, Aug 26th, 2014

Hobby Lobby fallout: New ‘workaround’ and ‘accounting gimmick’ to ensure Obamacare mandate

The Obama administration has revised the HHS mandate rules after losing the Hobby Lobby case in the U.S. Supreme Court. After the eighth accomodation last week, the revised mandate dictates a violaation of “conscience rights” and urged Congress to act.

Plan B One-Step emergency contraceptive Image/Video Screen Shot

Plan B One-Step emergency contraceptive
Image/Video Screen Shot

“The rules, which are in response to recent court decisions, balance our commitment to helping ensure women have continued access to coverage for preventive services important to their health, with the Administration’s goal of respecting religious beliefs,” the statement reads.

“… the Administration is soliciting comment on how it might extend to certain closely held for-profit companies the same accommodation that is available to non-profit religious organizations, while continuing to urge Congress to take action to ensure women’s access to contraception services.

“Women across the country deserve access to recommended preventive services that are important to their health, no matter where they work,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell. “Today’s announcement reinforces our commitment to providing women with access to coverage for contraception, while respecting religious considerations raised by non-profit organizations and closely held for-profit companies.”

HHS will arrange that coverage for the employees, without involving the employers. This is being described by “an administrative workaround” or a gimmick.

Non-profit organizations must officially notify the government if they disagree with the HHS mandate for religious reasons.

Arina Grossu, Center for the Human Dignity director at the Family Research Council, believes that the revision is covering up the larger problem of the high fines for organizations that wish to opt out of the mandate.

“What remains an insulting accounting gimmick does not protect the rights of Americans with sincere conscientious objections. It is simply another clerical layer to an already existing accounting gimmick that does nothing to protect religious freedom because the employer still remains the legal gateway by which these drugs and services will be provided to their employees. It’s very disappointing that the Obama administration is doubling down on its plans to punish charities and non-profits that assist the poor and homeless, who in some cases have nowhere else to turn for assistance,” Grossu said.

“If these charities and non-profits follow their conscience and decline to participate in the meaningless accounting gimmick, the administration will make them pay huge penalties accruable on a daily basis — one hundred dollars per employee per day.”

“We believe that Congress can and should act to ensure that any women affected by recent Supreme Court actions get the same coverage options that everyone else is offered,” principal deputy White House Press Secretary Eric Schultz said Friday. “Legislative action is the quickest and best way to ensure that women get access to the services they need, and we call on Congress to act quickly.”

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