Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Obama Needs To Weigh In

The groundswell of criticism to the administration’s new health care regulation has grown into an avalanche of opposition.
The Obama administration, through its Department of Health and Human Services, has implemented a regulation requiring that all employers, even Catholic hospitals, institutions and universities, provide their employees with health care coverage that includes coverage for contraceptives, abortions and sterilizations.  
The Catholic Church has responded vehemently against the law calling it a violation of religious freedom.  Small government conservatives have joined in calling the ruling more evidence of big government intrusion into people’s lives.  The predominantly Catholic Hispanic community has joined in the chorus of opposition.  What was once a regulation intended to provide affordable health care to all women has grown into a moral issue that poses a real problem to the President’s re-election campaign.
The White House responded by saying that 28 states currently impose the same rules and that there is a one year grace period for Catholic institutions to figure out how to comply with the ruling.
Catholic institutions provide health care for one in six Americans.  They are a very powerful institution in our political process and more importantly a huge component of how health care is administered in this country.  While the administration’s ruling does not require employees of those institutions to take contraceptives or submit to abortions or sterilization; it does require them to purchase coverage providing these procedures; in clear violation of their moral and religious beliefs.
All women should have access to these legal health care services.  But those who object to them on religious grounds should not be forced to participate in that process.  And telling them to get another job is not the answer.
Presidential advisor, David Axelrod, speaking on Morning Joe, said that the administration is open to finding a compromise on the issue.  We hope so.  But surrogate  attempts to smooth over the issue are not what people want to hear.  And offering a one year compliance grace period to figure out how to set aside 2000 years of religious beliefs is not going to cut it. We believe that the administration was caught completely off guard by the firestorm generated by this ruling.  They need to fix it. 
When you put out a policy like this; that is complicated both politically and morally, you cannot leave it to surrogates to carry the message.  The President has created a vacuum here and he needs to step in and fill it.  There ARE compromise solutions to this issue.  The President needs to figure them out and communicate them to the American people.  For if he continues to allow this vacuum to exist, he will  hand his detractors a key component toward making him a one term President.         

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