"The administration's so-called compromise is inadequate. Legally, it does not exist," said Gregory Baylor, senior counsel for the Alliance Defense Fund, who is representing Geneva.
"If it happens, we will welcome it. But we are not optimistic."
The lengthy rule says that the federal agencies "plan to initiate a rulemaking to require issuers to offer insurance without contraception coverage to such a [faith-based] employer ... and simultaneously offer contraceptive coverage directly to the employer's plan participants ... who desire it, with no cost-sharing."
One outstanding concern has been the many religious agencies that already avoid state mandates through self-insurance. Speaking on background, an Obama administration official said "the administration will work with faith-based organizations, insurers and other interested parties to develop policies that respect religious liberty and ensure access to preventive services for women enrolled in self-insured group health plans sponsored by religious organizations. We will start in the upcoming days by convening a series of meetings with faith community leaders to explore solutions. ... so that the ultimate outcome works for religious employers, their workers and the public."
The Alliance Defense Fund maintains that there is no such thing as free insurance, so that the religious employers would…