Employer Options that are certainly licit are:
1) not complying with the mandate
2) dumping insurance altogether
The debate has been whether compliance under protest can be licit. I think Long and Pakaluk have made the case that it cannot.
But if someone cannot come to certainty one way or another, if the matter seems opinionable, perhaps the following is worth consideration. A totally centralized system of insurance.
Individuals would pay taxes and have access to those benefits determined solely by governing officials. If any of the benefits were in fact evils, financial cooperation by paying taxes would be merely material and would, it seems, be entirely justified.
Of course, the costs would increase, quality of care could well decrease…. In short, all or many of the arguments conservatives love to use against centralization may well be on target. And radical centralization is by NO means a necessary conclusion from Catholic Social Doctrine. On the contrary, both Obamacare as it is and a totally centralized system require to justify themselves before the scrutiny of Catholic Social Teaching on Subsidiarity. Nevertheless, application of the doctrine of subsidiarity proves rather elusive of common agreement.
But with regard to the specific issue of intrinsic evil: Would not such centralization be preferable to the risk of moral compromise - not to mention the risk of grave scandal! - established by the contraceptive mandate… and by the threat of any number of further mandates to come?
We should not confuse political and economic prudence with moral evaluation. It is in service of the latter that I make this suggestion. Suffering hardship is better than committing evil; death, rather than sin.
So, if our minds are swaying back and forth over the issue of the moral object, we should not let the desire for Mammon determine our judgment.
The American conservative criticism of European financial stupidity may well be entirely justified. That is not the point. The point is this: If the individual taxpayer in such a system is freed from any necessarily formal cooperation, then, would not such a clumsy system be preferable to one of possible moral compromise? of certain moral compromise, if Long and Pakaluk are, as I think they are, right?