KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

White House, Members Of Congress, Candidates React To High Court Ruling

News outlets tracked the immediate political fallout of the Supreme Court's Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores decision.

Politico: White House: Hobby Lobby Ruling 'Jeopardizes' Women's Health
President Barack Obama believes that the Supreme Court’s ruling in the Hobby Lobby case on contraceptives "jeopardizes" women's health and will press Congress to respond, White House press secretary Josh Earnest said Monday. "Today’s decision jeopardizes the health of women employed by these companies," Earnest told reporters (Epstein, 6/30).

USA Today: Dems Discuss Response To Contraception Ruling
The White House and congressional Democratic leaders said Monday they will seek legislation to reverse a Supreme Court decision that corporations can opt out of providing contraception coverage if they claim religious objections. It is unlikely a divided Congress could pass any bill on the issue. "President Obama believes that women should make personal health care decisions for themselves rather than their bosses deciding for them," said White House spokesman Josh Earnest. "Congress needs to take action to solve this problem that's been created, and the administration stands ready to work with them to do so" (Davis, 6/30). 

Politico: SCOTUS Decision Ignites Obamacare, Contraception Fight
The contraception coverage mandate isn't central to the law, the way the individual mandate is. By letting some closely held employers — like family-owned businesses — opt out of the coverage if they have religious objections, the justices haven't blown a hole in the law that unravels its ability to cover millions of Americans. They didn't even overturn the contraception coverage rule itself. They just carved out an exemption for some employers from one benefit, one that wasn't even spelled out when the law was passed. But politically, that doesn't matter (Nather and Haberkorn, 6/30). 

The New York Times: A Ruling That Both Sides Can Run With
The Supreme Court's ruling on Monday that the government cannot force certain employers to pay for birth control was more than a rebuke to President Obama. It was vindication of the conservative movement's efforts to chip away at laws it finds objectionable by raising questions of freedom of expression. ... leaders predicted Monday’s decision would infuse Republicans with energy as they fight to take control of the Senate this year and reclaim the White House in 2016. ... Yet even as conservatives celebrated coming out on the winning side of a divisive social issue, their court victory may have also handed Democrats an issue that will turn out liberal voters in the fall. Democrats have spent hundreds of millions of dollars in the last several years to cast Republicans as callous and extreme on women’s health issues (Peters and Shear, 6/30).

The Wall Street Journal: Hobby Lobby Ruling Galvanizes GOP And Democrats
The latest Supreme Court ruling on the Affordable Care Act reinforces the lines of attack both parties are using to mobilize their political bases for the 2014 midterm, while potential presidential candidates signaled the case would resonate into 2016 (Reinhard, 6/30). 

ABC News: Hobby Lobby Ruling Reignites Calls For Repeal By Possible GOP Candidates
Several high-profile Republicans possibly eyeing a presidential bid in 2016 praised the Supreme Court’s decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby as a victory for religious liberty while also sharply attacking the Obama administration for executive overreach through his signature legislative achievement (Parkinson and Zeleny, 6/30).

McClatchy: Politicos Rush For Gain In Court Ruling On Contraceptive Coverage
Democrats and Republicans eagerly seized on Monday’s Supreme Court birth-control ruling as an important electoral momentum-builder, but it's doubtful the decision will have a big impact on November's congressional races. People are far more concerned about the jobs and the economy, and political history suggests that midterm elections tend to be referendums on incumbents. That didn't stop both parties from moving for advantage within minutes of the court ruling (Lightman, 6/30).

USA Today: Clinton: Supreme Court Contraception Ruling 'Deeply Disturbing'
Hillary Rodham Clinton blasted the Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision saying some privately held companies with religious objections cannot be forced to offer insurance coverage for certain kinds of birth control. ... She said the ruling in the so-called Hobby Lobby case could mean companies "can impose their religious beliefs on their employees" and end up "denying women contraception as part of their health care plan" (Camia, 6/30). 

Politico: Hillary Clinton Blasts Hobby Lobby Ruling
Hillary Clinton on Monday called the Supreme Court’s ruling in the contraception-related Hobby Lobby case "deeply disturbing." The former secretary of state and possible Democratic front-runner skewered the decision during an appearance at the Aspen Ideas Festival in Colorado, hours after the Supreme Court ruled that for-profit employers don’t have to provide contraception coverage, mandated under Obamacare, if they have religious objections (Glueck, 6/30). 

Politico: Democrats: Hobby Lobby Ruling Could Boost 2014 Hopes
Democrats may be decrying the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby ruling, but the party’s campaign strategists believe they can use it to their benefit in this year’s midterm elections. Despite the legal setback for Obamacare, the strategists hope the ruling will boost Democrats’ efforts to keep the Senate by persuading some Republican-leaning women to defect in states with competitive races while galvanizing younger women who typically don’t vote in midterms (Hohmann, 6/30). 

CNN: Do Democrats Win By Losing Obamacare Decision?
At first glance, Monday's Supreme Court ruling that closely held companies cannot be required to cover some types of contraceptives for their employees appears to be a defeat for the White House, Democrats and the health care reform measure they pushed into law. Most Republicans were quick to celebrate the ruling. "This decision protects the religious freedom that is guaranteed to all Americans by the First Amendment, and we're grateful the Court ruled on the side of liberty," Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said. And most Democrats were equally fast in slamming the court's opinion (Steinhauser, 6/30).

The Washington Post: Faith Groups Divided In Their Reaction To Court's Decision Affirming Religious Rights
U.S. faith groups were starkly divided in their reaction Monday to the Supreme Court’s decision affirming the religious rights of corporations, with some seeing a narrow decision protecting the religious liberty of business owners and others seeing a profane intrusion into the beliefs of employees. Traditional Christians and Jews in particular celebrated Monday’s decision, which comes at a time when many feel conservative religious beliefs — especially around sexuality and marriage — are slipping in official status. ... Some faith groups saw a dangerous, broadly worded decision. They pointed to the dissent written by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg (Boorstein, 6/30).

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