Bishops of the Roman Catholic Church protest the refusal by the Obama administration to grant an exemption from federal regulations for certain Catholic charitable organizations.
Specifically, they say their conscience does not allow them to include contraceptive services in their employee health insurance plans, even though their non-Catholic employees might want such services. Catholic churches, schools and other strictly religious institutions are exempt, but Catholic charities that employ both Catholics and non-Catholics and serve both Catholics and non-Catholics are not.
In other words, the bishops believe that they should not be required to obey American civil law when it conflicts with Catholic canon law. My friend Bill speculated on what an uproar there would be if some Muslim charitable organization wanted an exemption from federal law on the grounds that it conflicted with Muslim sharia law.
Click on U.S. Catholics dismayed by Obama administration ruling and Religious Exemptions and Contraceptive Coverage for more discussion of this issue.
If it were up to me, I would have the federal government give up the effort to regulate private health insurance plans, and instead create a public insurance option. If there was a public option, somebody who lacked insurance or wasn’t satisfied with their insurance coverage could sign up for the self-financing, non-profit government plan, which would provide all the benefits the government thinks people should have. The public option would provide a benchmark for private insurance companies. Either the private insurance insurance companies would provide satisfactory coverage, or people over time would migrate to the public plan.