Poll: Majority of Americans Oppose New Obama HHS Mandate

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Feb 8, 2012   |   8:14PM   |   Washington, DC

New polling data from Rasmussen today shows a majority of Americans oppose the new mandate the Obama administration put into place to force religious employers to pay for insurance coverage that includes birth control and drugs that can cause abortions.

In a national survey of 1,000 likely voters, Rasmussen asked, “The requirement to provide contraceptives for women violates deeply held beliefs of some churches and religious organizations. If providing such coverage violates the beliefs of a church or religious organization, should the government still require them to provide coverage for contraceptives?”

Some 50 percent of those polled said no while 39 percent of Americans agreed.

When asked “Should individuals have the right to choose between different types of health insurance plans, including some that cost more and cover just about all medical procedures and some that cost less while covering only major medical procedures?” 77 percent of respondents said yes while just 9 percent said no. A 45-35 percent plurality disagree when asked, “Should the government require every health insurance company and health insurance plan to cover the exact same set of medical procedures?”

Even on the issue of contraception itself, a 46-43 percent plurality said no when asked, “Should health insurance companies be required by law to cover all government-approved contraceptives for women, without co-payments or other charges to the patient?”

Another 54 percent of Americans, compared with just 16 percent who said it would decrease, said the cost of health insurance will increase if health insurance companies are required to cover all government-approved contraceptives for women.

“Half of voters do not agree with the Obama administration’s action forcing Catholic institutions to pay for birth control measures that they morally oppose,” Rasmussen said of its results. “The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 39% of Likely U.S. Voters believe the government should require a church or religious organization to provide contraceptives for women even if it violates their deeply held beliefs. Fifty percent (50%) disagree and oppose such a requirement that runs contrary to strong beliefs, while 10% more are undecided.”

The polling firm noted: “Fifty-six percent (56%) of male voters are against the government requiring contraceptive coverage in a case like this. Female voters are almost evenly divided on the question. Sixty-five percent (65%) of Catholic voters oppose this requirement, as do 62% of Evangelical Christians, and 50% of other Protestants. Most non-Christians (56%) support the Obama Administration ruling.”

Ed Morrissey, a pro-life writer at the blog Hot Air, noted more of the numbers from behind the survey and said they are “bad news” for Obama.

“Democrats support his mandate 60/27, which is not exactly a ringing endorsement. Republicans oppose it 16/75, and a plurality of independents do as well, 43/49,” he wrote about the survey. “Every income demographic except the lowest of under-$20K and $75-100K opposes it by majorities.  Only those who never attend religious services or attend less than once a month support the mandate; all other categories oppose it by large majorities.  Even the “political class,” usually reliably liberal, opposes the mandate on religious organizations by 25/63.”

The Obama administration is reportedly considering a compromise on its new mandate that has caused national outrage because it forces religious employers to cover birth control and drugs that may cause abortions. However, the leading pro-life spokesman for the Catholic bishops says the compromise may be worse.

Congressman Steve Scalise has led a bipartisan letter with 154 co-signers calling on the Obama Administration to reverse its unconstitutional mandate forcing religious organizations to include drugs that can cause abortion and birth control in the health care plans of their employees.

Bishops across the country have spoken out against the mandate and are considering a lawsuit against it — with bishops in more than 164 locations across the United States issuing public statements against it or having letters opposing it printed in diocesan newspaper or read from the pulpit.

“We cannot — we will not comply with this unjust law,” said the letter from Bishop Thomas Olmsted of Phoenix. “People of faith cannot be made second-class citizens.”

Responding to the announcement, Cardinal-designate Timothy Dolan, archbishop of New York and president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, stated: “In effect, the president is saying we have a year to figure out how to violate our consciences.”

“To force Americans to choose between violating their consciences and forgoing their healthcare is literally unconscionable. . . It is as much an attack on access to health care as on religious freedom,” he added.

The mandate is so egregious that even the normally reliably liberal and pro-abortion USA Today condemned it in an editorial titled, “Contraception mandate violates religious freedom.”

The administration initially approved a recommendation from the Institute of Medicine suggesting that it force insurance companies to pay for birth control and drugs that can cause abortions under the Obamacare government-run health care program.

The IOM recommendation, opposed by pro-life groups, called for the Obama administration to require insurance programs to include birth control — such as the morning after pill or the ella drug that causes an abortion days after conception — in the section of drugs and services insurance plans must cover under “preventative care.” The companies will likely pass the added costs on to consumers, requiring them to pay for birth control and, in some instances, drug-induced abortions of unborn children in their earliest days.

The HHS accepted the IOM guidelines that “require new health insurance plans to cover women’s preventive services” and those services include “FDA-approved contraception methods and contraceptive counseling” — which include birth control drugs like Plan B and ella that can cause abortions. The Health and Human Services Department commissioned the report from the Institute, which advises the federal government and shut out pro-life groups in meetings leading up to the recommendations.