KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Mo. Lawmakers Override Veto Of Bill Limiting Contraceptive Coverage

Gov. Jay Nixon had argued that state law already provided protections.

Kansas City Star: Missouri Lawmakers Override Gov. Nixon's Birth Control Bill Veto
Missouri lawmakers voted Wednesday to override Gov. Jay Nixon's veto and allow employers to refuse to provide health insurance coverage for birth control if doing so violates their religious convictions. But almost immediately after the vote, a Kansas City firefighter and the Greater Kansas City Coalition of Labor Union Women filed a lawsuit asking a judge to throw the new law out (Hancock, 9/13).

St. Louis Beacon: Lawmakers Override Nixon On Contraception, Skip Vehicle Tax
(Missouri state) Sen. John Lamping's bill stated that employers could not be required to provide insurance coverage for abortion, contraception or sterilization if such coverage violated their religious or ethical beliefs.  The bill went on to say that no employees could be required to pay for such coverage in a group plan, if they held similar objections. Nixon vetoed the bill in July, arguing that state law already "provided strong religious protections" that allow employers to decline to provide coverage for abortion or contraceptives (Rosenbaum, 09/12). 

Also, a religiously oriented business files suit against the Obama administration policy requiring employers to cover contraceptives.

The Associated Press/Washington Post: Hobby Lobby Sues Over Morning-After Pill Coverage Requirement In Health Reform Law
Christian-oriented Hobby Lobby Stores Inc. filed a federal lawsuit Wednesday challenging a mandate in the nation's health care overhaul law that requires employers to provide coverage for the morning-after pill and similar drugs. The lawsuit by the Oklahoma City-based chain claims the government mandate is forcing the company's owners "to violate their deeply held religious beliefs under threat of heavy fines, penalties and lawsuits" (9/12).

Reuters: Hobby Lobby Sues Government Over Healthcare Mandate
Hobby Lobby, an arts and crafts retailer founded by evangelical Christians, sued the Obama administration on Wednesday to stop a mandate under the federal healthcare reform law to provide drugs such as the morning-after pill to employees through their health insurance. The lawsuit, filed in District Court in the Western District of Oklahoma, seeks a permanent injunction against the government on behalf of Hobby Lobby and other companies that have religious convictions against abortion (Olafson, 9/12).

Abortion issues are also making news in Virginia and Alabama --

Richmond Times-Dispatch: Board Of Health Takes Up Abortion Clinic Regulations Friday
The state Board of Health is scheduled to vote Friday on regulations that would require Virginia's existing abortion clinics to comply with standards for new hospital construction — an upgrade that abortion-rights proponents say is politically motivated, unnecessary and entails costs that jeopardize the clinics' ability to stay open. The meeting is the first since the board voted 7-4 on June 15 to approve the new regulations with an amendment that grandfathered the state's 20 existing clinics from having to comply with the building requirements. After the vote, Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli's office refused to certify the amended regulations as part of the executive review process. It said the new rules were not in compliance with a law the Virginia General Assembly passed regulating the clinics like hospitals (Nolan, 9/13).

The Associated Press: Rejected By Alabama, Woman Promises Continued Fight To Reopen Birmingham Clinic For Abortions
A woman said Wednesday she's not giving up on reopening a Birmingham clinic that performs abortions, even though she was dealt another setback in her attempt to get a license. A state hearing officer has ruled against Kelley Rain-Water in her appeal of the state health department's denial of her license application to reopen the New Woman All Women Health Care (9/12).

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