April 2013: File a Comment with HHS

Comment by April 8, 2013

YOU can file a comment on the latest round in the HHS Contraception Mandate. This is your chance to speak up for religious liberty! It is quite easy, but the deadline is Monday, April 8. The hardest part is that you have only 2000 characters (i.e. about 15 tweets!) to summarize your comments … but you can easily attach (upload) a file with further comments. We’ll give a few helpful hints below.
When you are ready to file your comment, go to this link and follow directions – it’s quite simple.

File a comment at this link: http://www.regulations.gov/#!submitComment;D=CMS-2012-0031-63161
If you wish to see the actual proposed rules (warning: written in unusually dense bureaucratese), go to this link: http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=CMS-2012-0031-63161

This phase specifically seeks comments on a proposed “solution” to get around conscience-based objections to providing contraception and particularly abortifacient drugs. The “solution” is an elaborate shell game that allows objectors to pretend they are not financing these “services,” provided they don’t look closely. Your comment should touch on the proposed solution. Otherwise it could be ignored as irrelevant to the current issue.

Here are some particular vulnerabilities you could mention (you might pick just one because of the limit on comment length).
• The bottom line is that the contraceptive/abortifacient “services” are provided ONLY to persons enrolled in their employer’s healthcare plan – so the sleight of hand that attempts to conceal the financing does not work.
• Another serious problem is that the proposal would apply ONLY to religious non-profits – NOT to Christian businesses. The Obama doctrine is that if you go into business, you forfeit the guarantee of Free Exercise of religion. But the First Amendment guarantees religious freedom to ALL, not only to non-profits.
• The proposal also does not help individual Christians – who will be forced to purchase a healthcare policy if their employer does not provide one (and Obamacare is deliberately designed to force more and more employers to drop coverage). Only policies that include the objectionable “services” qualify.
• The proposal (and the entire mandate) is based on a key finding that providing contraceptive/abortion services has no net cost, but actually reduces overall healthcare costs. This finding is simply bogus. It is based on a highly defective cost study that is simply not valid. It achieves this result by comparing the cost of contraceptive “services” to the costs of raising children (including not only pregnancy, but even their education!) – it finds cost “savings” by preventing children! For more details (in plain English) look at the cost analysis at this link:
http://scandhouse.org/liberty/2background/proceeding

The bogus HHS cost study is a particular weakness of the contraceptive mandate. This fraudulent “finding” enables HHS to leap some serious regulatory hurdles that otherwise would have made the mandate difficult or impossible to adopt. This finding also enables HHS to require insurance providers to provide these “services” without compensation (because HHS claims they are costless) – the shell game cannot work aside from this bogus legal “finding.” If you REALLY want to annoy HHS, and possibly lay the grounds for a court to overturn the mandate, you can download the cost analysis from this link: http://scandhouse.org/liberty/cbstuff/cost_analysis.pdf
Simply save the file, then refer to it in your comment and use the “Upload” feature on the comment submission form to attach it to your comment. This analysis has been filed, but can be filed by as many as wish. You may also upload any other document you find relevant (but you should refer to the document in your comment summary).

These filings will not change the minds at HHS, which are already made up, but they will cause HHS staff more difficulty and could provide legal support for future challenges to the validity of the HHS contraceptive mandate. Filed comments may also be noted in Congress and may increase support there for overruling HHS or repealing some or all of Obamacare. In any case, this is your legal opportunity to weigh in on the HHS contraceptive mandate.

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