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The Republican Senate has a problem on their hands with their full throated support of Sen. Roy Blunt's amendment, which allows any employer to deny coverage of health services to their employees on "moral" grounds. From Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to Sen. Scott Brown, Republicans are falling over themselves to strike a blow for "religious freedom." It's going to be an uphill climb for them.

Public Policy Polling for Daily Kos & SEIU. 2/16-19. Registered voters. MoE ±3.1% (no trendlines):

Q: Do you think employers should be allowed to deny health care coverage to their employees for doctor-recommended health care services if those services are contrary to the employer’s religious beliefs or moral convictions, or do you think all workers should be allowed access to all doctor-recommended health care services, regardless of their employer’s beliefs?

Employers should be allowed to deny coverage based on their beliefs ..........25%

All workers should be allowed to access health care services regardless
of their employer’s beliefs
......................................................................... 67%

Not sure .................................................................................................... 8%

The question uses the exact language of the Blunt amendment [pdf], with the phrase "religious beliefs or moral convictions." Incidentally, that's the part of the amendment that Brown refuses to acknowledge.

Men, women, Democrats, Republicans, independents, all racial and ethnic groups and every income bracket believes employers should not be able to dictate their employee's health care on the basis of their personal beliefs. The single group that supports the premise of the Blunt amendment is the tea party, those protectors of personal freedom, at a margin of 51-39. Even self-identified conservatives are more narrowly split, 43-45, against Blunt.

Republicans are determined to try to make this about "religious freedom," all the while undoubtedly getting the quiet backing of the insurance industry, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other business groups. What this really about is money. It's the money insurers and employers can save by not having to provide comprehensive coverage to their workers.

While the GOP cries "religious freedom," the public, the voting public, will think about a different kind of freedom—not having their employers meddle in their private lives by means of their health insurance. They'll also be thinking about their pocketbook, and how much they'll have to pay out of their own pocket for the coverage their boss is denying. That's the argument Elizabeth Warren is making, for good reason. It's an issue of economic and personal freedom for most Americans, not the "religious freedom" of their bosses.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 09:11 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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