Kudos to Wesley J. Smith for keeping up the flow of information on the administration's coercion of conscience against Catholic agencies. And Smith isn't Catholic (as far as I know)!
By now everyone will have heard that the Obama administration is offering an "accommodation" to religious organizations. So, let's see what this amounts to.
As near as I can understand, it works like this: The religious organization will still have to purchase an insurance plan, and the insurance company will still have to offer contraception and sterilization to all employees who have the plan. So what's changed? Well, the religious organizations' plans will be labeled as "excluding" these services. How's that again? Well, then, the employer will refer the employees back to the insurance company. If an employee wants these things covered "for free," the employee will ask the insurance company for them by individual request, and the insurance company, ordered by the federal government, will give it to the employee for free. So now the insurance company is a direct dispenser of medical coverage to individual employees, in virtue of their belonging to an insurance plan through their employer, even though that coverage is allegedly excluded by their plan. How's that for bizarre? Moreover, I have not heard anywhere--and if this is the case, please let me know--that the religious organizations' plans will have lower premiums in virtue of their "excluding" this coverage. If that were the case, presumably the cost for the mandated "free" services would be shifted (someone must be paying, since nothing is really free) to employees who have other plans, from non-religious employers, with that insurer. If there is no reduction in premiums, then the "exclusion" is the purest fiction. In other words, a lie. The employer purchases the insurance; the insurance is paid for by premiums from the employer (and possibly also the employee). The insurance company, in virtue of an employee's membership in that plan via that employer, gives out these services. The premiums are therefore, inter alia, paying for those services. It's darned confusing in a way, but it's also very clear. This is a shell game of a particularly egregious sort. The "exclusion" is no exclusion at all.
If someone has a different sensible actuarial explanation of this "accommodation," do share. But this is what it's looking like now. Hopefully, the bishops, Belmont Abbey, & Co. will not be taken in and will continue to push back.