The following comes from a December 19 posting on the Daily Caller.
A religious order of nuns is concerned about its future presence in the United States because of Obamacare’s impact on its charitable operations. The Little Sisters of the Poor told The Daily Caller that it may not qualify for a long-term exemption from Obamacare’s healthcare mandate. The law requires the order to provide government-approved health insurance to its 300 sisters who tend to the elderly in 30 U.S. cities.
The exception is needed, said Sister Constance Carolyn Veit, the Little Sisters’ communications director, because Catholic teaching opposes contraception and medical treatment that cause sterility or can cause abortions.
President Barack Obama’s health-care overhaul law requires employers to include those services in qualifying health care plans they provide for their employees. Failure to comply will bring hefty fines — even for religious orders whose members have taken vows of poverty.
“[I]t could be a serious threat to our mission in the U.S.,” Constance told TheDC, “because we would never be able to afford to pay the fines involved. We have difficulty making ends meet just on a regular basis; we have no extra funding that would cover these fines.”
The crux of the matter is a religious exemption that the federal government is expected to make available to Catholic churches, but not to other Catholic institutions.
That’s because unlike Catholic parishes and dioceses, the church’s many affiliated schools, charities, religious orders and hospitals don’t discriminate in their hiring or service, often employing staff — and serving people in need — who come from other Christian denominations or from other faiths entirely.
“We are not exempt from the [Obamacare] mandate because we neither serve nor employ a predominantly Catholic population,” Constance added. ”We hire employees and serve/house the elderly regardless of race and religion, so that makes us ineligible for the exemption being granted churches.”
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