President Obama announced Friday a proposal he hopes will mollify conservatives who are irked about a rule that would require religious employers to provide free contraceptive products to workers under company health insurance plans. The proposal’s success banks on the generosity of insurance companies, which will be asked to pay for the services themselves. –ARK

The New York Times:

“Religious liberty will be protected, and a law that requires free preventive care will not discriminate against women,” Mr. Obama told reporters in the White House briefing room. He said the “political football” his foes were making of the new rule prompted him to speed up work on a solution. “It became clear that spending months hammering a solution was not going to be an option.”

… The administration plan most closely resembles Hawaii’s, in which employees at religious institutions whose health insurance plans do not offer free contraception can get birth control through side benefits. The difference, though, is that whereas in Hawaii the employees nominally pay for the benefits, the Obama proposal would shift the cost to insurers. Administration officials hope that insurers will not object because in the long run, they argue, contraceptives end up saving more money than they cost because they prevent unwanted pregnancies.

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