Though the Obama Administration is attempting to make accommodations for religious groups in order to win their support for the HHS mandate, the U.S. Conference of catholic bishops, which condemned the mandate last year, isn’t buying the mandate yet.
New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, rejected the new proposals and said the bishops will try to overturn the mandate in court, but he seemed to leave the door open for further negotiation:
Throughout the past year, we have been assured by the administration that we will not have to refer, pay for, or negotiate for the mandated coverage. We remain eager for the administration to fulfill that pledge and to find acceptable solutions — we will affirm any genuine progress that is made, and we will redouble our efforts to overcome obstacles or setbacks.
The new proposals included allowing religiously affiliated hospitals and universities to be exempt from providing contraceptive coverage; insurance companies would deal directly with individual employees.
But there was no attempt by the Administration to exempt private, for-profit business owners who have religious objections to health insurance coverage they would be forced to provide that would violate their religious precepts.
Catholics who support Obama were pleased with the proposals, but those who favor traditional religious principles, were unimpressed. Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput, called the proposals “coercive and gravely flawed.”
Catholic hospitals and universities have yet to respond. It will be interesting to see if they accede to Obama’s offer for their own uses, or if they will stand with private business owners, who otherwise would be left alone to fight the Obama machine.