White House Scrambles For Compromise On Birth Control Rule
Officials say Obama remains committed to the HHS regulation, amid indications they are exploring ways to get around religious groups' complaints.
Los Angeles Times: Birth-Control Fight Turns Into A Campaign And Fundraising Tool
Amid the rising clamor, administration officials are exploring the possibility of implementing the rule so that religiously affiliated employers could offer supplemental policies, known as riders, for contraception or direct workers to insurance companies that sell such riders. Even if Catholic voters and independents agree with the White House on substance, the administration doesn't want to appear insensitive to the concerns of the Catholic Church. Women's groups would be likely to vigorously oppose any alteration of the rule (Mascaro and Hennessey, 2/8).
Politico: White House Tries To Quell Birth Control Storm
President Barack Obama is groping for a solution to an increasingly ugly election-year controversy over birth control coverage. And Republicans are doing everything in their power to make it as difficult as possible for the White House. ... Polls show the birth control rule is popular, even among Catholics — but the backlash within Washington has been fierce, and the actions of the president’s top advisers Tuesday showed just how worried they are about it (Budoff Brown and Feder, 2/8).
McClatchy: White House: 'Absolutely Firm,' But Willing To Talk, On Birth Control
The White House insisted Wednesday that the president's commitment to contraceptive access for women is "absolutely firm," even as Republicans from Capitol Hill to the presidential campaign trail assailed the policy as an attack on religious liberty. … A new law taking effect this year requires most private insurers to pay for birth control. Religious groups have been given an extra year to comply. At the White House, Press Secretary Jay Carney said the administration wants all American women — no matter where they work — to have access to the same health care coverage and the same preventive care services. That includes contraception without a co-payment (Bolstad and Clark, 2/8).
The Washington Post: Boehner Vows Action To Overturn Obama Administration Rule On Birth Control
White House officials, along with dozens of liberal religious leaders and several leading Democratic lawmakers, defended the policy Wednesday, describing it as a crucial protection for women who deserve birth-control coverage no matter where they work. The White House also publicized a support letter signed by 600 doctors and medical students. Nearly two dozen leaders of organizations including Catholics for Choice and the Central Conference of American Rabbis issued a statement saying the policy will "safeguard individual religious liberty" while helping "improve the health of women, their children, and families" (Wallsten and Aizenman, 2/8).
Politico: Joe Biden, Bill Daley Warned Of Contraceptive Backlash
Two top advisers to President Barack Obama — both Catholics — warned him of the potential for controversy over his decision to require religious organizations to cover contraceptives in their health insurance plans. Vice President Joe Biden and former White House chief of staff Bill Daley both told the president that the decision would be cast as a government intrusion on religious freedom and that it could alienate Catholic voters in swing states, Bloomberg reported Wednesday (Epstein, 2/8).
NPR: 'Congress Will Act': Fight Over Birth Control Coverage Moves To The Hill
Republicans won't pass their legislation to overturn the mandate without a fight. "There are religions that believe divorce is a sin," said Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H. "Should these institutions be exempt from our labor laws and be allowed to discriminate based on marital status? Of course not, and this is no different." In fact, pointed out Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., many women don't even use prescription contraception in ways that violate the church's teachings. "A full 14 percent of women who use birth control pills — that is 1.5 million women — use them to treat serious medical conditions, not to prevent pregnancies," she said (Rovner, 2/8).
CQ HealthBeat: Religious Leaders Back Obama On Contraception Rule
The Obama administration drew support on Wednesday from 20 religious groups praising a decision to require that hospitals and universities with religious affiliations offer health insurance plans with free contraceptive coverage to their employees. While the move has drawn a firestorm of objections from Catholics and Republicans in recent days, the organizations that signed a public statement said they are "mainstream" leaders in religion who agree with the administration (Norman, 2/8).
The Hill: Obama Administration Struggles To Contain Uproar Over Birth-Control Rule
The White House struggled Wednesday to contain the growing uproar over its birth-control mandate, with Democrats peeling off one by one in what has become an increasingly divisive election-year controversy. Pressure to roll back the new contraception policy mounted quickly as the day wore on, driven by divisions among Democrats, mixed messages from President Obama’s advisers and a constant drumbeat from the GOP (Parnes and Baker, 2/8).
Kaiser Health News: Two Democratic governors — Gov. Dannel Malloy of Connecticut and Gov. Martin O’Malley of Maryland — tried to tamp down the controversy over contraception coverage at Catholic institutions this week by quoting the same number: 28 states already require insurance coverage of contraception. ... But it's not the whole story" (Webber, 2/8).
Health On The Hill: Backlash Grows Over Contraception Rule In Health Law
KHN's Mary Agnes Carey talks with Jackie Judd about an Obama administration rule that would require many religious-affiliated groups to cover birth control in their insurance plans. Watch the video or read the transcript.
The Associated Press: White House Attacks Romney On Birth Control
The White House is taking on GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney over his criticism of President Barack Obama's birth control coverage mandate. Press secretary Jay Carney says Romney is an "odd messenger" to be attacking Obama over the issue. ... Carney says a virtually identical policy is in place in Massachusetts, where Romney served as governor, and that it's ironic for Romney to criticize Obama over it (2/8).
CBS News: Romney Fires Back At White House, Aims At Santorum
Romney returned fire at President Obama's press secretary Jay Carney. ... "Well, you know, Mr. Carney needs to check his history and that is that that provision was put in Massachusetts before I was governor, and then when I was governor I tried to have it removed in our health care plan," Romney told reporters. "So in the working on our health care plan I worked very hard to get the legislature to remove all of the mandated coverages, including contraception. So quite clearly, he needs to understand that was a provision that got there before I did and it was one that I fought to remove" (Kaplan, 2/8).