Sen. Mike Johanns has taken to the Senate floor in Washington to denounce President Obama’s proposed solution to the contraception controversy.
The president has proposed that health insurance companies be required to pay for conception, rather than require religious organizations to pay for the mandate through their employee health care plans. The proposal is meant to end a controversy that has engulfed the Obama Administration after it released rules for contraception coverage under the federal health care law approved by Congress in 2009.
Johanns told fellow senators this issue is a fight about religious and moral beliefs, not about accounting.
“Are we as Americans expected to believe that the many religious organizations, paying the employer share of the health care costs are not really paying for these services? What kind of accounting gimmick is that? What kind of sleight of hand?” Johanns asked during his floor speech. “The president is blinded by his ideology.”
Johanns called the controversy a tragic, yet rewarding development. Johanns said it was tragic that the Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius issued rules that would require religious organizations to violate their consciences. Yet, Johanns said it was encouraging that people rose to object when their rights were trampled.
Johanns, who is Catholic, said he was proud of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops for its stance on the issue. The conference has rejected the president’s proposed compromise. Johanns agreed the president is off base.
“Calling these services free is flat wrong. There is a cost. And, unfortunately, it’s a high one at that. They come at the cost of our religious freedoms,” Johanns said.
The stakes are high, according to Johanns.
“You see, if the president succeeds here then our Constitution will no longer be the defining document of a great nation.”
AUDIO: Sen. Mike Johanns, Republican, speaks on the contraception controversy from Senate floor [13 min]