President Obama insists, in response to religious organizations’ concerns, that the costs of birth control coverage can simply be shifted to insurance companies for those organizations with religious objections. This, though, simply demonstrates Obama’s cynicism. The costs are far more than those of mere money. The costs are moral, and shifting pecuniary costs to others (itself an egregious immorality) has no impact on this.
Some organizations recognize this moral cynicism and are demonstrating the courage of their convictions. Vice President of Advancement at Franciscan University in Steubensville, OH, Mike Hernon told Fox News
We couldn’t believe the price (increase). We had [their insurance company] go back and reconfirm it. They said it was dictated by coverage limits that were released by the Obama administration.
The university had been excluding contraceptive services and related medications from its health insurance programs for its students. The price increase that so shocked Hernon was a tripling: from $600 per year per student to $1200 for the fall semester and to $1800 the following year. A large part of this increase was driven by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s mandate that the coverage available be increased to $100,000 for the students—for coverages that students don’t need.
As a result of the cost and of the moral violation the PPACA mandates demand, Franciscan University will be dropping its student health insurance coverage altogether. This school cannot take part in a plan that
requires us to violate the consistent teachings of the Catholic Church on the sacredness of human life.
Hernon added that
This is putting people in a position where they are having to choose between their faith and their morality, and now an unjust cost. These sorts of regulations from the government are forcing our hand in a way that’s really wrong. … At the end of the day, it’s the students who are hurt by this[.]
Franciscan University’s complete statement on the matter can be found here.
They’re not alone. Ava Maria University, a private university in Florida is considering taking the same step for the same reasons. University President James Towey says
My own sense is, I don’t see…how it makes sense for us to stay in this.
Towey noted that Ava Maria is looking at a cost increase of 65% – 85% from their current insurer. He tried shopping the coverage, but other major insurers “wouldn’t even give us a quote.”
Do it my way, insists Obama. Your moral objections don’t matter. And never mind the cost, just pony up. But this just demonstrates the failures: Obama not only is terrified of a free market in goods and services—dependency on government isn’t needed in such an economy. But he’s also terrified of a free market in ideas.
Update: On Monday, Ave Maria University decided to go through with discontinuing its student health insurance plan. University President James Towey said in a written statement
It is a sad day when Ave Maria’s students are forced to choose between enrolling in a health insurance plan that is both costly and offers morally objectionable benefits, and having no coverage at all.