KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

In Reversal, Catholic Hospitals Reject Contraception Compromise

News outlets report that the group, headed by Sister Carol Keehan, had initially supported the administration's compromise proposal that religious employer groups would have a way not to pay for employees' birth control.

The Washington Post: Catholic Hospitals Reject Obama's Birth Control Compromise
In an unexpected blow to the Obama administration and a major boon for America’s Catholic bishops, the influential Catholic Health Association on Friday rejected White House proposals aimed at easing faith-based objections to the contraception mandate. ... The mandate requires that all employee health insurance plans must provide no-cost birth control coverage to employees, and it grants what many consider an unacceptably narrow exemption for religious groups (Gibson, 6/15).

The Wall Street Journal: Catholic Hospitals Pull Back Support for Contraception Compromise
Sister Carol Keehan, head of the Catholic Health Association, was the most high-profile Catholic to speak in support of President Barack Obama‘s February announcement that the federal government would allow religious employers that object to the use of birth control to turn over responsibility for covering it for their workers to insurance companies. In a formal submission to federal regulators, Sister Keehan wrote that the Catholic hospitals group had decided all of the options being discussed were “unduly cumbersome and would be unlikely to adequately meet the religious liberty concerns of all of our members and other Church ministries" (Radnofsky, 6/15). 

The Associated Press/MSNBC: Catholic Hospitals Reject Birth Control Compromise
The Catholic Health Association was a key ally in Obama's health care overhaul, defying opposition from church bishops to help the president win approval in Congress. ... In a letter to the federal Health and Human Services department, the hospital group said the compromise initially seemed to be "a good first step" but that examination of the details proved disappointing. ... While some liberal-leaning religious groups see no problem with the birth control rule, Roman Catholic bishops and conservative-leaning groups are treating it as an affront ... There was no immediate reaction from the Obama administration (Alonso-Zaldivar, 6/15).


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