Sen. Coburn: Contraception mandate blown out of proportion

Updated

The Morning Joe panel continued its discussion today about the HHS mandate, what it means for religious institutions and the Obama administration.

Mika Brzezinski talked with Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., about the issue. Coburn, a medical doctor, has had issues with HHS in the past.

The issue has continued to gather steam, and on Wednesday White House Press Secretary Jay Carney got into a back-and-forth debate with Mitt Romney on the issue.

But here’s what he had to say about the contraception mandate. We’ll have the video for you shortly.

Sen. Coburn: This is blown out of proportion, but it is an important point in terms of religious liberty, but it’s the consequence of having too big of a government. And well-meaning people; there’s nothing wrong with their motivation. They’re well-meaning people, but the consequence is we lose liberty.

Mika Brzezinski: OK, I just have one more question, and I’ll put it to the table if I may. [To Sen. Coburn] You’re a doctor, and I don’t know if this is really about controlling or attacking the rights of religious institutions. It seems to me, and what would you say, to a maybe hourly-wage worker at a hospital, a Catholic hospital, who might need a third party to cover the co-pay on contraception? Would you think at least making the playing field fair in terms of costs is something the government could help the American public with?

Coburn: Mika the playing field is already level. She can go to the county health department and get the birth control pills for free. We spend $300M on birth control pills through HHS through county health departments now. It’s not that it’s not available; it’s that we want to make a change and mandate through the government. We already have programs available for anybody who can’t get birth control to get it. They can get it. What we’re doing now [with HHS mandate] is say ‘Here’s what you must do even if it violates your religious principles.’

Sen. Coburn: Contraception mandate blown out of proportion

Updated