While everyone's attention is focused on the debt ceiling debate, another controversial matter may be overlooked. Over at NCR, Steve Schneck of Catholic University lays out the details of a new set of health care regulations due to be released next week:
On Aug. 1, Secretary [Kathleen] Sebelius is set to release a new rule that will mandate certain medical procedures that must be covered by new insurance policies offered under the health care reform law. Existing policies will be “grandfathered” but if they undergo substantial changes, they too will have to abide by the new mandates.
Last week, the Institute of Medicine released its recommendations for procedures that should be mandated. These recommendations go a long way toward righting the disparities in coverage for women that have been long lamented. Some of the recommended procedures are both noncontroversial and will improve women’s health, such as a test for the HPV virus that is linked to cervical cancer. Other recommendations, however, are controversial, especially those that relate to sterilization and abortifacients......
The issue facing Sebelius is not contraception. The issue is conscience protection. The right of an American citizen to receive birth control or to obtain Plan B does not trump the right of a doctor to decline to participate in procuring an abortion. Nor does it trump the right of a citizen to decline to purchase a policy that pays for procedures they find morally repugnant. You do not have to share that moral repugnance to share the concern that violating the conscience of others runs against the entire spirit -- and in the case of Catholic church ministries, against the very letter -- of the First Amendment.
Read the rest.