Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) has offered an amendment that would allow employers to deny coverage of health services to their employees on the basis of their personal moral objections. Women’s groups warn the measure will severely limit access to needed care and now Brent Bozell, founder of the Media Research Center, is providing a sneak preview to the kind of discrimination employees will experience if the amendment becomes law.
Upon hearing news of President Obama’s regulation requiring all employers to offer contraception coverage without additional cost sharing, Bozell examined his own organization’s insurance policy and was “horrified” to learn that MRC’s plan has long provided contraception (and abortion) coverage. Bozell asked his employees to stop using “contraception/abortifacient/abortion services” and promised to eliminate the benefits at once:
“[W]e are working to change our insurance policy so as not to have to comply with this administration’s disgusting mandate to provide contraceptive, sterilization and abortifacient services. In the course of looking into this I have learned our insurance policy provides abortion services. I cannot begin to tell you how horrified I am by that. I never would have approved this had I known. It is the taking of a human life. That will change.”
If Congress approves Blunt’s amendment, employers like Bozell would be able to make health decisions for their employees on the basis of their own personal beliefs. About two-thirds of Americans oppose this idea, but Bozell is already putting it into practice.
The incident is reminiscent of the Republican National Committee’s reaction upon discovering — through an article in Politico — that its health insurance plan covered abortion in 2009. Like Bozell, the RNC did not change its policy until it contradicted its political rhetoric, suggesting that women’s health care benefits are standard insurance benefits and that the GOP’s sudden outrage is nothing more than a manufactured political issue designed to rally the Republican base.