ObamaCare's Moral Conscience Accommodation

Saturday's opinion in The Wall Street Journal, "Immaculate Contraception," explains the absurdity of ObamaCare's "accommodation" for those whose moral conscience prevents them from paying for birth control:

Under the new rule, which the White House stresses is "an accommodation" and not a compromise, nonprofit religious organizations won't have to directly cover birth control and can opt out. But the insurers they hire to cover their employees can't opt out. If that sounds like a distinction without a difference, odds are you're a rational person.

The key word here is "directly," as in "won't have to directly cover birth control." Although it's apparently lost on the Obama administration, even D.C. bureaucrats used to understand this truism: "Money is fungible."

Since all premiums for an insurance plan go into the same pool of money and all claims are paid for out of that same pool of money, every enrollee pays, in part, for every medical claim -- including birth control. That's because money is fungible.

It's absurd to contend that a Catholic's insurance premiums pay for dialysis but not for birth control if both are paid for out of the same fund. If, however, there were a separate pool of insurance money for birth control alone, then it would possible to sequester funds so that one wouldn't have to pay for "health care" that one objected to. But that's not what Obama is offering up, and money's still fungible.

Under ObamaCare's "accommodation," those whose moral system forbids them to pay for birth control will still be paying for it. It's a non-accommodation accommodation.

There is, however, a way that might accommodate conscientious objection to paying for birth control. The accommodation consists of this: Religious organizations would have their insurance premiums reduced. The reduction in the price of premiums would need to be large enough to account for the cost of birth control.

Of course, mandating lower premiums for religious groups might not play very well with everyone else, as they would have higher premiums to pay for the "free" birth control that ObamaCare mandates for everyone.

At the very least, Obama & Co. don't understand the insurance business. We already knew they don't understand money. But what rankles is that they expect folks to accept this ridiculous "accommodation."

Jon N. Hall is a programmer/analyst from Kansas City.

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