If there was a question Friday morning whether the Obama administration might cede ground, there was no doubt at the end of the day. They haven’t budged.

Despite what President Obama said at his White House press conference, the actual regulations make permanent the “interim final regulations” issued August 3, 2011 — the ones that sparked the furor in the first place.

Prefaced by 17 pages of the kind of rhetorical squid ink that President Obama defensively deployed at his press conference, the words that have the force of law appear on pages 18 to 20. That’s where the actual amendments to the Code of Federal Regulations are made by three departments — Treasury, Labor, and Health and Human Services — that Congress previously granted joint oversight of employer health plans.

The bottom line is this: “Accordingly, the amendment to the interim final rule with comment period amending 45 CFR 147.130(a)(1)(iv) which was published in the Federal Register at 76 FR 46621-46626 on August 3, 2011, is adopted as a final rule without change.” [Emphasis added.]

Translation: The Obama administration Friday afternoon put into federal law the very regulation that drew objections from almost 200 Catholic bishops, some 50 religiously affiliated colleges and universities, 65 North American bishops of Orthodox churches, numerous other Jewish, Evangelical and Lutheran leaders, and even some liberals — and without changing so much as a comma.

read the rest at The National Review

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