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Obama Interior Secretary Nominee’s Firm Got Obamacare Waiver

by Steven Ertelt | Washington, DC | LifeNews.com | 2/7/13 2:09 PM

National

Revelations have come out today that Sally Jewell, President Obama’s nominee for Interior Secretary, received an Obamacare waiver for her company’s firm.

This comes as pro-life groups and religious organizations are unable to get a broad conscience exemption from the Obama administration to opt out of the HHS mandate that compels them to pay for birth control and drugs that may cause abortions.

As the Washington Examiner reports:

The controversial waivers were issued to select companies after Obama’s health care reform bill passed in 2008, temporarily excusing them from the Obamacare health insurance mandates.

As Michelle Malkin noted in her May 2011 column, Jewell participated in an Obama administration roundtable in 2009 to talk about the benefits of health care reform.

After the roundtable meeting, President Obama praised the REI health plan for covering both part-time and full-time employees.

“Every single employee is covered, but part of the reason they’re able to do it is because they put a big emphasis on prevention and wellness,” Obama explained during his remarks.

On Friday, the Obama administration released new HHS mandate rules that attempt to expand the number of religious groups that can opt out of the pro-abortion mandate — but that leaves religiously-run companies like Hobby Lobby out in the cold.

Thanks to a number of decisions in court related to lawsuits filed against the mandate by dozens of religious businesses and organizations, the Obama administration is under court order to revise the mandate. But the proposed changes don’t protect everyone who wants to opt out.

Although the proposed revisions provide some additional protections for religiously-affiliated organizations, companies owned and operated by people with religious objections to the mandate are not included in the expanded exemption rules.

But the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty,  a pro-life legal group representing Hobby Lobby, told LifeNews the proposed changes would still force the company to comply with the mandate.

“Today’s proposed rule does nothing to protect the religious liberty of millions of Americans. The rights of family businesses like Hobby Lobby are still being violated,” Kyle Duncan, General Counsel for The Becket Fund For Religious Liberty, said.

He said, “The Becket Fund continues to study what effect, if any, the Administration’s proposed rule has on the many lawsuits on behalf of non-profit religious organizations like Ave Maria University, Belmont Abbey College, Colorado Christian University, East Texas Baptist University, EWTN, Houston Baptist University, and Wheaton College.”

Leading pro-life groups don’t have much good to say about the proposed changes the HHS department announced today to the Obamacare mandate that forces religious groups and religiously-run companies to pay for birth control and abortion-causing drugs.

The Christian Medical Association (CMA), the nation’s largest faith-based association of physicians, today called the administration’s policy announcement regarding its contraceptives and sterilization mandate “unacceptable,” noting that the ruling still flouts the First Amendment.

CMA CEO Dr. David Stevens said, “This latest version of the contraceptives and sterilization mandate remains unacceptable. Since when does the government get to pick and choose which groups will get to enjoy First Amendment protections? Our founders intended the First Amendment to protect every American’s freedom to act according to one’s conscience. They didn’t specify that only groups deemed religious will be afforded this protection; freedom of conscience applies equally to all Americans.”

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The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), a pro-life legal organization that focuses on constitutional law, said it is extremely disappointed that the proposed rule change announced today by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) concerning the mandate does not apply to all Americans.

In its announcement today, the HHS proposed a new “accommodation” for religious, non-profit organizations and companies that object to providing insurance coverage for contraceptive and abortion-inducing services based on their religious beliefs. The new proposal, however, expressly excludes any exemption to for-profit, secular businesses.

“We’re extremely disappointed that the Obama Administration does not respect the religious beliefs of all Americans,” said Francis Manion, Senior Counsel of the ACLJ. “This country’s laws and Constitution protect the religious freedom of all Americans, whether organized into religious bodies or not. Religious believers who simply want to conduct their businesses in a manner consistent with their religious beliefs have the same right to religious liberty as everybody else.”