Acton Institute Powerblog

Report: Economic experts blast revised HHS mandate

Share this article:
Join the Discussion:

On Jan. 20, Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius ordered most employers and insurers to provide contraceptives, sterilization, and abortifacient drugs (the “morning after” pill) free of charge under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Yesterday, President Obama — reacting to a firestorm of criticism that this new mandate violates freedom of religion and conscience protections — announced a compromise that shifted the cost of the mandate to insurers. That, however, has done little to allay fears about the erosion of constitutional rights from many religious leaders. Roman Catholic Bishop Richard Pates in Des Moines, for example, told the local paper the compromise didn’t go far enough and asked parishes in his diocese to publish a letter tomorrow titled, “At stake: Freedom of Religion, Freedom of Conscience.”

A number of economists and other critics of the HHS mandate are equally unimpressed with the cost shifting at the heart of the president’s revised plan.

In a report, Acton Research Director Samuel Gregg observes that “Someone has to pay. And it would be entirely reasonable – and very probable – for the insurance companies to simply charge religious institutions extra for their overall insurance policies in order to cover their not-so-free costs.”

Read more from Gregg and other experts in “‘Birth control pills don’t fall out of the sky like manna’: economic experts blast revised mandate” by Ben Johnson on

John Couretas John Couretas is Director of Communications, responsible for print and online communications at the Acton Institute. He has more than 20 years of experience in news and publishing fields. He has worked as a staff writer on newspapers and magazines, covering business and government. John holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in the Humanities from Michigan State University and a Master of Science Degree in Journalism from Northwestern University.


  • Flottemesch

    Although the direct costs of this mandate are clear, its chance for longer- term unintended consequences is equally troubling. If more women begin using the prescription birth control pills, it is reasonable to assume there will be decreased use of other methods, such as condoms, that provide protection against STDs such as HPV, clamydia, and the like. Subsequently, we could see increased rates of cervica cancer, pelvic inflammatory disease, ectopic pregnancy, genital warts, and other fertility issues. Thus, the “no free lunch” issue is much deeper than many realize.

  • Pingback: FRC Blog » The Social Conservative Review: February 16, 2012()