KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Catholic Bishops, Colleges Resisting HHS Rule On Contraceptive Coverage

They say they should be excluded from the new regulation, which requires insurance plans to cover birth control.

The New York Times: Ruling On Contraception Draws Battle Lines At Catholic Colleges
Many Catholic colleges decline to prescribe or cover birth control, citing religious reasons. Now they are under pressure to change. This month the Obama administration, citing the medical case for birth control, made a politically charged decision that the new health care law requires insurance plans at Catholic institutions to cover birth control without co-payments for employees, and that may be extended to students. But Catholic organizations are resisting the rule, saying it would force them to violate their beliefs and finance behavior that betrays Catholic teachings (Grady, 1/29).

Arizona Republic: Phoenix Bishop Thomas Olmsted: Defy Feds On Birth Control
Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted of Phoenix has become one of the first Roman Catholic bishops in the nation to openly defy the Obama administration over new rules forcing employers to include access to contraceptives and sterilization procedures in health-insurance coverage. Although the Catholic Church itself is exempt from the proposed regulations, Olmsted believes the federal government's decision is an attack on religious liberty. He is encouraging church members to actively oppose it (Clancy, 1/28).

Reuters: Catholics Hear Protests Of Obama Health Ruling At Mass
U.S. Catholic bishops and priests across the country read out letters at Mass on Sunday protesting plans by President Barack Obama's administration to force religiously-affiliated nonprofit groups to offer birth-control coverage to women employees. On Jan 20, the Obama administration made final a proposal requiring most employer-sponsored health plans to offer women contraceptive services including sterilization without copays, co-insurance or deductibles (Gaynor, 1/29).

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