Obama has apparently staked out a compromise on the birth control mandate:
The Obama administration proposed broader latitude Friday for religious nonprofits that object to the mandated coverage of contraceptives, one that will allow large faith-based hospitals and universities to issue plans that do not directly provide birth control coverage.
Their employees would instead receive a stand-alone, private insurance policy that would provide contraceptive coverage at no cost.
The plan will also offset self-insuring companies by lowering their exchange fees.
The problem with this compromise is that it is a compromise the way being bitten in half by a shark is. Instead of the employer paying for employee’s birth control, we all do. And it runs into the fundamental problem with insurance mandates that Republicans should have been focused on instead of being diverted into calling Sandra Fluke a whore: that coverage mandates of any kind drive up the cost of health insurance.
In a final regulation issued Wednesday, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) assumed that under Obamacare the cheapest health insurance plan available in 2016 for a family will cost $20,000 for the year.
Under Obamacare, Americans will be required to buy health insurance or pay a penalty to the IRS.
The IRS’s assumption that the cheapest plan for a family will cost $20,000 per year is found in examples the IRS gives to help people understand how to calculate the penalty they will need to pay the government if they do not buy a mandated health plan.
The examples point to families of four and families of five, both of which the IRS expects in its assumptions to pay a minimum of $20,000 per year for a bronze plan.
Now these are just guidelines but the IRS has a pretty good idea — based on the current insurance market — how much these things are going to cost. Let’s say the IRS has massively overestimated. That means the minimum cost will be $10,000 a year.
All of this — all of it — could have been avoided if we’d gone with something like the GoldHill Plan in which the minimum insurance was an HSA with a high-deductible major medical plan. With $5000 in their pockets, employees could spend it on whatever they wanted to. If they want to spend it on birth control, that would fall well within any reasonable HSA. The entire issue could have been neutralized.
But … the Democrats don’t want these issues neutralized. They don’t want people making their own healthcare decisions and empowering themselves over the system. They want these fights over coverage mandates: be it on birth control, mental health or aromatherapy. They want our insurance decreed from Washington, with all the brutal “War on Women” politics that might entail. If we concede that the feds can mandate coverage, the Democrats will have a permanent wedge — increasingly generous subsidized “bronze level” health insurance — with which they can keep cramming themselves into public office.
(In a related note, Bloomberg is handing out Plan B in public schools. I don’t have a problem with Plan B. Despite claims of critics, it’s not an abortion pill. But I do have a problem with secretly handing it out to minors.)