Senate Set For Showdown On Obama Birth Control Rule
An amendment by Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., which is scheduled for a Senate vote today, would allow employers and insurers to opt out of provisions in Obama's health care law to which they object on religious or moral grounds.
The Associated Press: First Vote Looms On Obama Birth Control Policy
The Senate is considering GOP legislation aimed at rolling back President Barack Obama's policy on birth control coverage. At issue is a measure sponsored by Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri that would allow employers and insurers to opt out of provisions in Obama's health care law to which they object on religious or moral grounds. That includes the recently rewritten requirement that insurers cover the cost of birth control, even for religiously affiliated employers whose faith forbids contraception (Kellman, 3/1).
Reuters: Senate Heads For Showdown Over Contraceptives
The Democratic-led U.S. Senate is expected on Thursday to defeat a largely symbolic measure that would exempt employers such as Roman Catholic hospitals, universities and charities from a controversial White House rule requiring free birth control coverage. Debate on the Republican proposal, introduced by Missouri Senator Roy Blunt as an amendment to an unrelated highway bill, began on Wednesday and both parties seized the opportunity to play to voting constituencies considered crucial in November's election (Morgan, 3/1).
Politico: Senate GOP Centrists Undecided On Blunt Vote
The handful of moderate Republicans in the Senate say they're not quite sure yet how they'll vote Thursday on the proposal to allow employers to decline to cover certain health benefits that conflict with their religious beliefs. Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) told POLITICO she hasn't decided how she'll vote yet on the measure offered by Roy Blunt (R-Mo), and is waiting for details from HHS about how self-insured religious-affiliated institutions would be treated under the Obama administration's rules (Haberkorn, 2/29).
CNN: Senate To Vote On Controversial Contraception Amendment
The Senate is set to vote Thursday on a controversial amendment pushed by Senate Republicans that would allow employers to opt out of health care coverage they disagree with on moral grounds. The so-called "conscience" amendment, sponsored by Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri, is the Senate Republicans' response to the simmering controversy over a recent Obama administration decision to mandate the type of health care coverage religious employers are required to provide. "This bill would just simply say that those health care providers don't have to follow that mandate if it violates their faith principles," stated an early February press release from Blunt. "This is about the First Amendment. It's about religious beliefs. It's not about any one issue" (Merica, 3/1).
Fox News: Controversial Obama Birth Control Policy Faces First Vote In Senate
Democrats and Republicans in the Senate are gearing up for first vote in what has become a fierce fight over President Obama's mandate that health insurers must cover the cost of contraceptives. The Senate will vote Thursday on whether or not they want to quash the so-called "conscience" amendment authored by Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo, a measure designed to counter Obama's mandate. The amendment would allow insurers and employers to opt out of any provision in the president's health care law to which they object on moral or religious grounds. That includes the requirement to cover the cost of birth control (3/1).
St. Louis Beacon: Blunt Assails Critics 'Fiction' As Senate Liberals Blast 'Conscience' Amendment
In his Senate remarks, Blunt criticized "the fiction writers out there and fundraising letters ... saying things like women who have contraceptive services today wouldn't have them" under the Blunt amendment. "Of course that's not true," Blunt asserted, noting that the measure "doesn't mention any procedure of any kind" (Koenig, 2/29).
In the background -
The Wall Street Journal: Schools Navigate State Birth-Control Patchwork
The Obama administration's decision requiring that employers, including large Catholic institutions, provide contraception coverage without out-of-pocket costs in their insurance plans has prompted calls by bishops to overturn the regulation. The Senate is set to vote Thursday on a proposal to effectively reverse the decision. But there was less outcry when states first passed laws with similar requirements in the 1990s, according to legislators and some Catholic institutions (Radnofsky, 2/29).