I’m new to this making policy proposals, but I think there is an easy way for protect religious freedom while promoting a market based solution to concerns about birth control coverage. First, let’s settle a couple of points up front. Religious affiliated organizations should not be forced to provide birth control coverage if it goes against the tenants of their faith. Second, birth control decreases the overall costs of health insurance by decreasing pregnancies, particularly those that are unwanted, while also serving legitimate medical purposes unrelated to birth control.
If we can agree on those two points, it seems that the following solutions would follow:
Any religious institution opposed to providing birth control, which reduces the cost of health care, will be permitted to pay a higher premium to cover the cost of implementing their conscience bond choice.
At the same time, insurance companies, who seek to maximize profits, would be permitted to negotiate incentives with individuals regarding the use of birth control.
I see this as a win-win-win. Religious freedom wins and institutions are free to pay the higher cost of not providing preventive medicine; insurance companies have the opportunity to use market forces instead of government dictates to drive their bottom line; and women, I think in the end, will have greater access to birth control.
I recognize that this is my first blog – ever! Please be gentle. I know I have not worked all the numbers, but it just seems to make sense to me. Instead of forcing intuitions to “pay” for birth control, simply allow them to NOT benefit from the financial savings of providing it.