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InsiderOnline Blog: February 2012

Contraceptive Mandates Threaten Services for the Poor

It’s the poor who are most threatened by the Obama administration’s decision to apply Obamacare’s insurance mandates equally to religious charities. Charities whose faith affiliation precludes providing employees health insurance covering contraceptives and abortion-inducing drugs would forgo offering their employees health insurance and then pay a fine. Or they might withdraw services that government could not afford to replace, reports Michael Gerson (“The Poor Pay the Price for Obama’s Politics,” Washington Post, February 7, 2012.):

Ram Cnaan of the University of Pennsylvania has documented the domestic role of “sacred places that serve civic purposes” — homeless shelters, food banks, health care, welfare-to-work, prisoner re-entry programs. Cnaan estimates the “replacement value” — the cost to government agencies of assuming these roles — to be about $140,000 each year for the typical community-serving religious institution.

Take the case of one city: Philadelphia. There are about 2,000 such faith-based institutions, many of them Catholic. Replacing them would require about a quarter of a billion dollars every year. Catholic Social Services helps more than 250,000 people a year in soup kitchens, shelters and centers for the disabled. Its Community-Based Services division runs adoption and foster-care programs, staffs senior community centers and supports immigration services. The Catholic Nutritional Development Services, working in partnership with public agencies, delivers nearly 10 million meals a year — accounting for about half of all meals delivered to poor children in Philadelphia in the summer months when school is out.

Posted on 02/07/12 02:09 PM by Alex Adrianson

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