published Friday, October 12th, 2012

Opinions: Times, Free Press editorials on Biden-Ryan debate

Vice President Joe Biden, left, and Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan, of Wisconsin, greet spectators during the vice presidential debate at Centre College, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012, in Danville, Ky. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
Vice President Joe Biden, left, and Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan, of Wisconsin, greet spectators during the vice presidential debate at Centre College, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012, in Danville, Ky. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Times Opinion: Biden carries debate


Conventional wisdom on vice presidential debates is that they rarely move the needle in presidential elections. Vice President Joe Biden’s performance last night may be the exception to that rule. He pointedly shifted the campaign focus back to the core points — the giveaways in the Romney tax plan to the privileged rich while adding taxes on America’s vast middle class and simultaneously stripping them of guaranteed Medicare and Social Security, along with the threat to women of losing reproductive choice. Biden did so, as well, with the conviction that Democrats and swing voters had expected last week of President Obama.

Congressman Paul Ryan was stuck with defending those flawed plans. Try as he did, he couldn’t do it — mainly because the facts of Romney’s tax plans and voucherized health care proposals simply work against the common interest of American families and workers who aren’t rich, and who rely more than ever on their earned entitlements.

Ryan made a decent impression in his first major debate, and decidedly partisan Republicans surely found what they wanted to hear in his misleading talking points. Problem is, he admittedly could not cite the details of Romney’s budget plan — because there are none — to justify Romney’s claim that cutting taxes by 20 percent on the already heavily favored top 1 percent, and on big corporations, would not cost $5 trillion in new national debt over the next decade.

Leaving in place the high end Bush dividend, capital gains and “carried interest” tax cuts that chiefly benefit the ultra rich would cost nearly $1 trillion over the next decade, and Romney’s plan would increase that by a new 20 percent more.

Neither could Ryan credibly say Romney would not add another $2 trillion in new debt by singling out the Pentagon, alone, for more money if Congress hits the mandated cuts in January because Republicans won’t agree to a balanced deficit reduction plan. Ryan did trot out Romney’s documentably false claim that Obama would cut $716 billion from projected Medicare spending, but he couldn’t refute Biden’s fact-check: Obama would restore that money to Medicare, strengthening benefits and its trust fund, by taking back the subsidies to for-profit insurers that Republicans wrongly shoveled to the insurance and pharmaceutical industries in their so-called Medicare Modernization Act in 2003, when they were trying to unravel Medicare.

Ryan’s attempts to sell the idea that Obama’s foreign policies are “unraveling” were similarly untenable. Though Romney has been big on saber-rattling and hinting of the need for war — in Iran and Syria — to make himself look tough, Ryan essentially admitted that Obama’s disciplined policies on both do all that the United States can and should do in current circumstances.

As Biden pointed out, the Obama administration has made it clear that Washington will not allow Iran to develop nuclear weapons, and has organized the most crippling international sanctions Iran has ever suffered, wrecking its currency and its economy. He also correctly noted that Iran yet is years away — experts widely agree on about five years — from developing capacity to make viable delivery weapon and missile systems to launch a crude nuclear weapon.

Biden, mentioning the neighbors, friends and his own parents who worked but earned too little to pay federal income taxes, notably defended the 47 percent of Americans that Romney told rich Florida donors that he had written off as moocher — leaving Ryan fatuously backtracking on Romney’s own words.

Biden also discredited the claim of religious infringement fueled by Catholic church’s conservative bishops (Biden and Ryan are both practicing Catholics) over contraception under Obamacare. The church is not required to do anything under Obamacare to help employees of any faith who work in their affiliated public hospitals and universities to access or pay for contraception.

Ryan sought often, of course, to portray the Obama administration as having failed to make progress toward jobs and an improved economy the past four years. Any American who watched the Great Recession unfold, however, should easily recall, as Biden did, that Obama walked into the worse recession in more than 80 years, which wrecked banks and businesses and destroyed nearly 9 million jobs from 2007 to 2009. Any clear-minded voter, of any stripe, should know that after quelling the national panic of 2008 and stabilizing the wrecked economy, the western banking system and state governments (Tennessee, for example, got $5 billion in stimulus funds over three years to shore up state services and jobs), Obama’s administration has delivered 32 straight months of job growth and more than 5 million new private sector jobs.

That admittedly has not yet replaced the stunning 9 million jobs lost, but it has added jobs over the past 32 months at a rate that economist predict will outpace the job growth that Romney claims he can produce in the next presidential term. Ryan couldn’t refute that, either.

Free Press Opinion: The grin that wouldn’t end


No matter how contentious Thursday night’s debate between vice presidential candidates Paul Ryan and Joe Biden appeared, no matter how different the policies seemed, ultimately there was very little difference in what they said.

Both men defended U.S. military presence in places that don’t threaten American national security. Neither man seriously addressed ways to tackle the debt or cut the massive federal budget. Rep. Ryan criticized the stimulus, only to have Vice President Biden remind him of his letter to the administration begging for stimulus grants for his Wisconsin congressional district. Both men, time and time again, talked about ways to empower the government, rather than empowering the American people to address problems.

It was clear that Biden believed that government has a primary role in choosing the healthcare, education and retirement available to Americans. Ryan, who professes otherwise, certainly failed to articulate those differences in a meaningful way.

Biden’s attack on personal retirement accounts was ill-informed and untrue, but Ryan was unwilling to forcefully defend an individual’s right to control their own retirement decisions. If he was quick on his feet, Ryan could have pointed out that, if “workers who retired in 2011 had been allowed to invest the employee half of the Social Security payroll tax over their working lifetime, they would retire with more income than if they relied on Social Security,” according to the Cato Institute.

The biggest difference wasn’t policy, it was demeanor. And that’s what this debate will be remembered for — Vice President Biden’s overzealous and, often, disrespectful conduct.

Ultimately, the clear winner was the dentist that glued on Biden’s veneers. He got a 90-minute ad for his work as the vice president smiled in amusement, contempt, disbelief, confusion and bewilderment. It seemed the only time Biden’s smirk wasn’t apparent were the times he interrupted Rep. Ryan or tried to tell the debate’s moderator, Martha Raddatz, how to do her job.

Debates are about memorable moments, and this one lacked any particular knockout lines or outrageous gaffes. If anything, the debate will go down in history for its one annoying constant, Biden’s grin, which, like Al Gore’s endless sighing during a 2000 presidential debate against George W. Bush, might have worked on a more limited basis, but ultimately got very old very fast.

The night, however, wasn’t without a major mistake. Vice President Joe Biden claimed that the administration wasn't aware of requests for more security in Libya before the Sept. 11 attacks on the U.S. mission in Benghazi. That statement, according to Foreign Policy magazine’s website, contradicted “two State Department officials and the former head of diplomatic security in Libya.” Biden’s attempt to brush off the administration’s culpability in the deaths of a U.S. ambassador and three other diplomats is just another in a long line of lies, contradictions and misinformation about the Benghazi attack.

Biden’s most compelling point during the debate — and there were a scant few from which to choose — was that Iran is simply not a legitimate nuclear threat now, or in the near future. They have yet to produce a nuclear warhead or the delivery system for the nonexistent warhead.

It seems that for Romney and Ryan — along with many other Republicans — the threat of a nuclear Iran is a convenient narrative, even if that narrative is rooted more in fantasy than reality. After all, it allows them to justify their resistance to trimming America’s bloated defense budget, which, of course, has to please the defense contractors who make up a large portion of the party’s donor base for campaign contributions.

Biden managed to continue one constant rallying point for the administration; the idea that the Obama Administration saved the U.S. car industry and, if he had been president, Romney would’ve let Detroit go bankrupt. It’s too bad that both Romney and Ryan remain unwilling to point out the fact that, by trying to save Detroit and so many other industries, Obama let America go bankrupt.

If the debate was measured on biggest American flag lapel pin, Rep. Ryan won. If the debate was scored on condescending chortles, Vice President Biden dominated.

In the end, it’s hard to believe that Americans will be better off either way.
2012 Vice President debate
39
Comments do not represent the opinions of the Chattanooga Times Free Press, nor does it review every comment. Profanities, slurs and libelous remarks are prohibited. For more information you can view our Terms & Conditions and/or Ethics policy.
Cactus said...

Biden has no class. He acted like a rude jerk.

October 12, 2012 at 6:29 a.m.
patriot1 said...

This debate will be remembered not by what was said, but by Biden's disdainful and condescending behavior.

October 12, 2012 at 7:13 a.m.
mzungu said...

Cactus/patriot1,

With all due respect, that's a bunch of malarkey. Biden wiped the floor with Ryan's backside last night. And in the process, Biden should have opened the eyes to every reasonably intelligent voter in the country to this very sobering possibility . . . that in the unlikely event Mittens actually does get elected, heaven help this country if Paul Ryan were to become the leader the of the free world. Just like the same scary prospect voters faced four years ago with the McCain - Palin ticket.

October 12, 2012 at 8:31 a.m.
jesse said...

The Times took the slant i thought they would and the Free Press laid it out just about the way it was! BTW: for Uncle Joe to wipe the floor w/anyone FIRST you gotta show Joe where the floor is at!! Joe spent the evning BEING JOE! Obama is prob.thanking GOD that JOE got through it w/o TOO much shoe leather in his mouth!!

October 12, 2012 at 8:41 a.m.
Diskatopia said...

It comes down to this-- who would YOU want a heartbeat away from the Presidency? It is pretty clear who wins that race in my mind: Biden kicks butt and doesn't put up with Ryan or anyone's lying BS, laughs at it and then factchecks it on the fly instead. Ryan got schooled.

In a phrase: That time when Ryan was revealed to be the out-of-touch dauphin of BS Mountain.

October 12, 2012 at 9:20 a.m.
AlexZane said...

When a wise man has a controversy with a foolish man, The foolish man either rages or laughs, and there is no rest. (Proverbs 29:9 NASB)

Biden interrupted 82 times while used 59% of the time alloted for the debate but complained 3 times about not getting his fair share, sounds familar. If you assume that is what makes a winning debate strategy then I guess he did 'wipe the floor' with Ryan but as far as being completely wrong for America and what we need right now, Obama/Biden is simply not working.

October 12, 2012 at 9:22 a.m.
Leaf said...

The right side of this article is pretty lame. All the author thinks is they're pretty much the same except Biden smiles too much? I quote, "The biggest difference wasn’t policy, it was demeanor."

Seriously? In fact, the policy differences are huge and glaring. Even the Republicans say that. Have you not been paying attention?

October 12, 2012 at 9:30 a.m.
raygunz said...

Biden laughed?? Of COURSE he did!

He and I(and a whole lot of other Democrats) are STILL laughing!

October 12, 2012 at 10:43 a.m.
Walden said...

Since intelligent commentary cannot be found on either side of this paper anymore, here is what Avik Roy had to say this morning on National Review Online (just so we can all get a dose of truth and reality this morning):

"When it came to health-care and tax reform, nearly everything that came out of Vice President Biden’s mouth was untrue. Here’s an incomplete list:

  1. Biden repeated the false talking points — as did moderator Martha Raddatz (!) — about the Romney Medicare plan exposing seniors to higher costs. In fact, the Romney plan is explicitly designed to ensure that seniors are not exposed to any additional costs.

  2. Biden repeated the false talking points about Obamacare’s $716 billion in Medicare cuts not being real cuts, because they allegedly don’t cut “benefits.” Indeed, the ratio of Obamacare’s Medicare cuts to new benefits is 15 to 1.

  3. Biden claimed that Democratic senator Ron Wyden opposes the Wyden-Ryan Medicare reform plan. Wyden opposes the House GOP budget, because it repeals Obamacare and block-grants Medicaid, but rest assured that Wyden still supports the Wyden-Ryan plan. And that plan is actually to the right of Romney’s plan, because Wyden-Ryan contains a hard cap on medicare spending growth (GDP + 1 percent) whereas Romney’s plan contains no growth cap.

  4. Biden claimed that having the government directly negotiate drug prices under Medicare Part D would save taxpayers “$156 billion right off the bat.” In fact, the Congressional Budget Office estimates that such a change “would have a negligible effect on drug spending.”

  5. Biden claimed that Paul Ryan’s House budgets would “knock 19 million people off of Medicare.” This is an entirely made-up figure. Not a single person would lose their Medicare coverage under Ryan’s budgets, and not a single person would under Romney’s plan either.

  6. Biden repeated the long-debunked claim that Romney seeks a “$5 trillion tax cut,” when in fact Romney’s tax proposal is revenue-neutral. Furthermore, Biden claimed that there is a study from AEI supporting his claims. “The American Enterprise Institute study [says that] taxes will go up on the middle class,” claimed Biden. There is no such study. Two AEI scholars, Matt Jensen and Alex Brill, have in fact made the opposite case."

October 12, 2012 at 10:51 a.m.
Walden said...

More intelligent observations from last night's debate, this time from Peter Kirsanow:

  • Biden bucked up gloomy MSNBC liberals [and leftist dingbats that hang around the TFP too], but two days from now people will remember only two things about the debate: Biden’s manic behavior and his demonstrably false statements about security and intelligence pertaining to Libya.

  • Paul Ryan presented himself as a credible VP.

  • Snap polls: Michael Barone reports Associated Press had Ryan up 51–43, CNN had Ryan up 48–44, CBS had Biden up 50–31 and CNBC had Ryan up 56–36.

  • Biden’s Libya falsehoods will be a significant problem for Obama in the next two debates.

  • The debate didn’t change the dynamics of the presidential race. That doesn’t help Obama.

October 12, 2012 at 10:55 a.m.
Walden said...

Best comment I've read thus far, this one from John Podhoretz in today's NY Post:

"Biden may have made Democrats happy — but I think that, by the time the week is out, he’s going to be even more of a low-comedy figure than he already is."

October 12, 2012 at 10:59 a.m.
mzungu said...

Thank-you, Charlie Pierce, for saying in a much more eloquent manner what those of us who watched last night already concluded: If that debate was a boxing match, the referee would have stopped it in the 4th round as a TKO.

http://www.esquire.com/blogs/politics/paul-ryan-debate-joe-biden-13626962

October 12, 2012 at 11:17 a.m.
Diskatopia said...

Lying Ryan lie #.. well, who can keep count... "REP. RYAN: Absolutely. Six studies have guaranteed -- six studies have verified that this math adds up, but here’s the other point --" Let's see what Lying Ryan considers "studies", shall we? From back when he and Romney were just touting it as "five 'studies'": http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2012/sep/14/mitt-romney/romney-claims-5-studies-back-his-tax-plan/

The study that matters, the one by the non-partisan Tax Policy Center (and Romney Campaign considered them non-partisan too, and quoted other studies they have done... until this research came out, then... flipflopMitt):

http://www.taxpolicycenter.org/UploadedPDF/1001628-Base-Broadening-Tax-Reform.pdf

"Our major conclusion is that a revenue-neutral individual income tax change that incorporates the features Governor Romney has proposed – including reducing marginal tax rates substantially, eliminating the individual alternative minimum tax (AMT) and maintaining all tax breaks for saving and investment – would provide large tax cuts to high-income households, and increase the tax burdens on middle- and/or lower-income taxpayers. This is true even when we bias our assumptions about which and whose tax expenditures are reduced to make the resulting tax system as progressive as possible. For instance, even when we assume that tax breaks – like the charitable deduction, mortgage interest deduction, and the exclusion for health insurance – are completely eliminated for higher-income households first, and only then reduced as necessary for other households to achieve overall revenue-neutrality– the net effect of the plan would be a tax cut for high-income households coupled with a tax increase for middle-income households."

October 12, 2012 at 11:26 a.m.
mzungu said...

"You know what's the difference between Sarah Palin and Paul Ryan?

Lipstick." - Charles Pierce.

BOOM!

October 12, 2012 at 11:28 a.m.
Leaf said...

The thing about Ryans "plans", the specifics of which don't actually exist, is that to have any possibility of all at adding up they seem to rely on the best possible future growth scenarios.

That's like putting into an online retirement calculator an assumed portfolio growth rate of 10% per year for thirty years. Could it happen? It's possible I suppose, but are you going to bet the lives of millions of American Citizens on it? That's the problem with just being an accountant with no heart. Ryan just doesn't get that people aren't statistics.

October 12, 2012 at 11:38 a.m.
jdawg72 said...

A debate is to allow both sides to voice their sales pitch to us. Joe Biden hijacked the debate and sounded obnoxous and ignorant. I am a registered Democrat but that doesntmean Im going to blindly follow you because your a Dem. Last night as well as the presidents performance has swung my vote to the GOP. Obama will have to sweep the next debates in spectacular fashion in order to get my vote. BTW. Someone should have told Joe that he was at the debate to help reelect the president. Not kill Batman.

October 12, 2012 at 1:35 p.m.
Walden said...

Under the hilarious headline "Angry Old White Man Yells at Paul Ryan for 90 Minutes...," Allahpundit writes:

"I expected “table-pounding atmospherics” from Biden but I didn’t expect him to act like a total jackhole for fully 90 minutes. Give him credit for knowing his target audience, though: His task tonight was to get the left excited again after Obama fell into a semi-coma in Denver, and evincing utter disdain for Ryan — grimacing, shouting, laughing inappropriately, constantly interrupting, the total jackhole experience — is just what the doctor ordered. He might have irritated independents and undecideds, but probably not so much that it’ll change people’s votes. The Democrats needed someone to go out there and clown for liberals, and if there’s one thing this guy knows, it’s clowning."

Fun stuff.

October 12, 2012 at 1:44 p.m.
Walden said...

I can't take credit for coming up with this notion, but Uncle Joe Biden would have made a fantastic regular on Hollywood Squares. He would have given old Paul Lynde a run for his money as the regular "center square."

October 12, 2012 at 1:52 p.m.
mountainlaurel said...

There was an obvious pattern to Joe Biden’s interruptions. . . They seem to occur every time Paul Ryan told a lie, which was frequent . . I think Ryan’s 1st lie occurred around 9:07 P.M.

October 12, 2012 at 2:51 p.m.
tipper said...

There were two keys statements made in both debates that most all pundits, talking heads, and both the liberal and conservative media missed. In the VP debate, Biden asked repeatably "When are they [Romney/Ryan and the Republican Party]going to take responsibility?" No one believes that the past four years under the Obama administration have been stellar, but the political right cannot possibly think that the American people are so unintelligent and apathetic to believe that the Republican Party, extreme or moderate, simply had no role in our economic problems since 2008. If the Republican Party cannot bring itself to acknowledge that, it has no soul or a speck of integrity.

In the first presidential debate, Obama called for "economic patriotism." That was a call for republicans and U.S. multi-national corporations to put their hands over their hearts when the recite the "Pledge of Allegiance" instead of putting it over their hands over their wallets. Look, any reduction in the corporate tax rate the U.S. will have no effect on CEOs, big money, lobbyists, and the republican legislators who support their corporate welfare and tax evasion. With Ireland's 12.5% corprorate tax rate coupled with the "Irish double Dutch sandwich" that allows U.S. companies to launder and harbor their money in offshore accounts; Zud, Switzerland, offering 14-16% tax rates; and now Canada looking at a 15% rate to lure U.S. companies; we cannot compete, nor should we try. American corporations need to take a hard look at their "profit without reason" philosophies and ask themselves how much they are eroding the well-being of their own people as to jobs, security, quality of life. It is hard to beleive when these companies and the legislators who support their tactics wave the flag that they are not just using patriotism to insult us.

Not everybody is feeling an upswing in the economy, especially those without jobs or who are suffering from the high costs of healthcare and education, but neither can anyone deny that compared to 2008-09 that we are not moving forward. I for one am not willing to throw that away on a presidential candidate and his party that wishes to spin economic and foreign policies without recognizing their role in how we got into our problems and pushing the falacy that corporations and the private sector are altruistic enough to solve all our woes. The governemnt's role is to govern. Without that, America becomes a free-for-all.

October 12, 2012 at 3:34 p.m.
patriot1 said...

Biden got issues

October 12, 2012 at 4:05 p.m.
tipper said...

JonRoss: Sounds like a non-denial denial to me. That's the best you got?

October 12, 2012 at 4:14 p.m.
mzungu said...

"Hello 9 1 1? There s an old man beating a child on my TV." - comedian Bill Maher

October 12, 2012 at 4:21 p.m.
mzungu said...

Oh just shup up all of ya, I want to watch football. All that's left is for Biden to throw Ryan a handkerchief: "Here, clean yourself up kid." - Bill Maher Tweet during the Debate

October 12, 2012 at 4:26 p.m.
patriot1 said...

"clean yourself up kid" sounds like something Sandusky might say

October 12, 2012 at 5:04 p.m.
mountainlaurel said...

TFP said: Ultimately, the clear winner was the dentist that glued on Biden’s veneers.

No, if anyone is going to make money as a result of the debate, I suspect it will be the people who own the rights to that old TV show “The Munsters.” Until this debate, I hadn’t really noticed how much Paul Ryan resembles Herman Munster’s young son Eddie Munster. It wasn’t just Ryan’s widow peak that reminded me of Eddie. At times, even Ryan’s debate lines sounded like they might have come from a “Munster” TV script, especially those episodes where Eddie was boasting about some alleged heroic deed that Herman Munster had done or volunteering Herman for some kind of heroic task, which was clearly beyond Herman's capabilities.

October 12, 2012 at 5:48 p.m.
mountainlaurel said...

JonRoss proclaims: "This paragraph is a total and absolute lie and the author knows it."

Where is the lie, JonRoss? I don't see a "lie" in the statement. As I recall, the original proposal said employers were required to provide contraceptive services in their employee healthcare packages. Churches were exempt, of course, but their affiliated institutions were not exempt because a portion of those employees included people whose belief system was different.

In an effort to assure everyone’s rights including the Catholic Church, HHS revised the proposal. Instead of requiring employers to provide contraceptive services in their employee healthcare packages, it now requires insurers to bear the cost, which essentially frees the Catholic Church from either paying for or sanctioning the contraceptive services.

October 12, 2012 at 10:52 p.m.
mountainlaurel said...

Jon Ross said: “mountain you do not understand. Why else would the Catholic church and other instituions such as Hobby Lobby be suing Obama over the issue?”

It’s my understanding that the Catholic Bishops declined to accept the HHS compromise that Vice President Biden was referencing in his debate statement. It’s unfortunate the Catholic Church doesn’t understand that everyone has the right to their own religious beliefs.

In this case, I think everyone agrees that Churches should be exempt, but it’s not really fair that their affiliated organizations should be exempt. I say this for a couple of reasons: 1) Many of these afflilated organizations receive grants that originate from taxpayers who do not share their religious beliefs; 2) A large number of the employees of these affiliated organizations are also not Catholic. An employer does not have the right to impose their religious beliefs onto their employees.

As to the Hobby Lobby suit you mention, I think it brings up some interesting discussion issues. Many of us have religious beliefs and if Hobby Lobby can be exempted from a government mandate because it objects to paying for healthcare insurance that it claims violates its religious beliefs, it seems to me that every citizen should be granted the same right and be exempted from any government mandate that they feel violates their religious beliefs. For example, Quakers are opposed to war and violence. Is it fair that their tax dollars are used toward wars, which are against their religious beliefs?

October 13, 2012 at 7:24 p.m.
mountainlaurel said...

Jon Ross said: “mountain you do not understand. Why else would the Catholic church and other instituions such as Hobby Lobby be suing Obama over the issue?”

It’s my understanding that the Catholic Bishops declined to accept the HHS compromise that Vice President Biden was referencing in his debate statement. It’s unfortunate the Catholic Church doesn’t understand that everyone has the right to their own religious beliefs.

In this case, I think everyone agrees that churches their employees should be exempt from the mandate, but it’s not really fair that their affiliated organizations should be exempt. I say this for a couple of reasons: 1) Many of these afflilated organizations receive grants that originate from taxpayers who do not share their religious beliefs; 2) A large number of the employees of these affiliated organizations are also not Catholic, and an employer simply does not have the right to impose their religious beliefs onto their employees, which is what is occurring in this situation.

As to the Hobby Lobby suit you mention, I think it brings up some interesting discussion issues. Many of us have religious beliefs and if Hobby Lobby can be exempted from a government mandate because it objects to paying for healthcare insurance that it claims violates its religious beliefs, it seems to me that every citizen should be granted the same right and be exempted from any government mandate that they feel violates their religious beliefs. For example, Quakers and several other faiths are opposed to war and violence. Is it fair that their tax dollars are used toward wars, which are against their religious beliefs?

October 13, 2012 at 7:27 p.m.
mountainlaurel said...

JonRoss said: "You lefties are now treading on dangerous ground. If you want to flush constituional government and logic down the toilet we can do that."

How so, JonRoss? I don't understand. Churches and religious orders are exempt. It is their affiliated organizations that are not exempt from the regulations.

Also, I note that the ACA regulations in regard to women’s health and reproductive medical services were upheld in a recent case involving a for-profit business owner:

Last week, U.S. District Judge Carol E. Jackson, in O’Brien v. HHS, upheld the regulations enforcing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) that require employers to provide women’s health, or reproductive medical services, as part of their group health plans. The challenge was brought by a secular, for-profit company, O’Brien Industrial Holdings, and its Chairman, Frank O’Brien, who is Catholic. In a nutshell, O’Brien objects to the ACA regulation’s requirement that contraception or sterilization services be included in his employees’ healthcare plans.

The regulation at issue does exempt some organizations, to wit, non-profit organizations the purpose of which is to inculcate particular religious values; that primarily employ persons of the faith; and that serve those who share their religious tenets. In short, it exempts churches and religious orders. Because the O’Brien company is a for-profit mining operation that does not share any of these characteristics, the religious exemption does not apply.

http://verdict.justia.com/2012/10/04/a-federal-judge-upholds-the-womens-health-regulations-of-the-affordable-care-act-against-a-free-exercise-of-religion-challenge

October 14, 2012 at 7:08 p.m.
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