KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Some Senate Democrats Split From White House On Contraception Rule

Politico: Dems Push White House On Birth Control Rule
The White House on Thursday faced mounting pressure from Senate Democrats to amend its requirements that religious employers include contraceptives in their health insurance plans, as Republicans tried to force votes on the issue. Advocacy groups on both sides of the debate turned up the rhetoric, potentially hurting the chances of finding a compromise that both sides can live with. Sens. Tom Carper of Delaware, Bill Nelson of Florida, Ben Nelson of Nebraska and Claire McCaskill of Missouri on Thursday became the latest Democrats to indicate they want to see the administration go back to the negotiating table (Haberkorn, 2/9).

Bloomberg: Obama's Contraception-Coverage Rule Creates Split Among Senate Democrats
The Obama administration’s decision to issue a contraception-coverage rule without a broad exemption for religious groups is creating an election-year split among Senate Democrats, with some Catholics in the party joining Republicans in calls to modify or scrap it. Senator Joe Manchin, a West Virginia Democrat up for re-election in November, introduced a bill yesterday that would block the federal government from requiring health insurance plans to cover contraception if the purchaser opposes it for religious or moral reasons. ... Other Catholic Democrats in the Senate, including John Kerry of Massachusetts and Claire McCaskill of Missouri, said they want the administration to adjust its rule (Litvan and Wallbank, 2/10).

Associated Press: Obama Birth Control Policy Divides Democrats
Democrats are deeply divided over President Barack Obama's new rule that religious schools and hospitals must provide insurance for free birth control to their employees amid fresh signs that the administration was scrambling for a way out. "This is not only unacceptable, it is un-American," says Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., a Catholic who faces re-election in November in a state where Wednesday nights are reserved for church services. ... Several Democrats, including Senate candidate Tim Kaine in Virginia and Illinois Rep. Dan Lipinski, have been outspoken in assailing the recently announced administration mandate that has angered religious groups and unified Republicans in protest. In a reflection of the party split, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., on Thursday blocked a GOP effort to debate an amendment on religious freedom (Cassata, 2/9).

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