The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has been creating problems for Catholics. First there was the announcement that Catholic institutions would have to provide birth control coverage in their health insurance plans. Our Catholic bishops protested that various forms of birth control, including abortion-inducing drugs, abortion itself and sterilization are included.
Then, on February 10, President Barack Obama announced an “accommodation” allowing Catholic institutions to not offer the objectionable services in their health insurance plans; however, health insurance companies would have to pay for such services. The problem is that if the insurance companies are obliged to pay for such services, they will pass on the costs to all the people covered under their insurance plans.
Our bishops are urging Catholics to contact their representatives, senators and the White House to voice their opposition to this “accommodation.” At the same time he suggested that people contact their elected representatives to support the passage of the Respect for Rights of Conscience Act (HR 1179 and S 1467).
I phoned the offices of our Ohio senators, Rob Portman and Sherrod Brown, and my congressman, Steve Chabot, to voice my concerns. The secretaries took my call and the message promising to pass it to these officials. That was on February 13. Two days later I received an email from Senator Brown in which he thanked me for my comments and stated his view that he believes women deserve access to the services in question.
Next I wrote to President Obama. I stated my personal objections to his “accommodation” to the Catholic Church. I said that I think the insurance companies will just pass the costs back to us through the charges that they asssess to cover our employees here at Franciscan Media. Besides, the president’s accommodation will not do anything for Catholic organizations that are self insured.
Writing and calling political representatives is something I do regularly, both for the state and national level. I prefer to express my views in writing, and to make arguments based on religious principles in which I believe. I dislike the fact that I am not able to personally argue my case with the officials involved.
Situations like the present health insurance controversy demand that we make our views heard in the form of a pro or con statement — a sort of vote for or against a particular piece of legislation or regulation. Now I am wondering how many other people have taken the time to express their views. Your comments are appreciated.
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