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Levey reports: "The Obama administration tried anew Friday to defuse controversy over a requirement in the healthcare law designed to broaden access to contraception, proposing new regulations to protect some religious organizations from having to cover these services in their health plans."

President Obama, accompanied by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, announces the revamp of his contraception policy requiring religious institutions to fully pay for birth control. (photo: Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP)
President Obama, accompanied by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, announces the revamp of his contraception policy requiring religious institutions to fully pay for birth control. (photo: Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP)


Obama Administration Proposes Contraception Compromise

By Noam N. Levey, Los Angeles Times

02 February 13

 

ASHINGTON - The Obama administration tried anew Friday to defuse controversy over a requirement in the healthcare law designed to broaden access to contraception, proposing new regulations to protect some religious organizations from having to cover these services in their health plans.

The proposal, which comes after more than a year of heated debate, expands an exemption from the contraceptive mandate for churches and other houses of worship.

That was a nod to intense criticism from many religious groups that have been enraged by the provision in the Affordable Care Act that requires most employers to provide women contraceptive coverage with no co-pays or other cost-sharing.

But the Obama administration will still require insurance plans offered by hospitals, universities and other employers with religious affiliations to provide contraceptive coverage with no cost-sharing for employees.

Many of these organizations, including Catholic hospitals and religious universities, had complained that this arrangement would indirectly require them to sanction the provision of services they object to on moral grounds.

Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and a leading critic of the contraceptive mandate, was noncommittal Friday. "We welcome the opportunity to study the proposed regulations closely. We look forward to issuing a more detailed statement later," he said.

But a religious-rights group that represents employers said the new proposal does not go far enough.

"All Americans, not just those in church organizations, are guaranteed freedom of conscience in their daily lives and work," said Matt Bowman, legal counsel for the Alliance Defending Freedom, which has filed lawsuits on behalf of family-based companies.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius defended the new proposal Friday as a fair compromise.

"Today, the administration is taking the next step in providing women across the nation with coverage of recommended preventive care at no cost, while respecting religious concerns," Sebelius said. "We will continue to work with faith-based organizations, women's organizations, insurers and others to achieve these goals."

The latest administration proposal does not address separate complaints from for-profit companies that object to the contraceptive coverage mandate. Several of these firms are suing in federal court to block the requirement.

Friday's proposals drew quick praise from leading advocates for expanded contraceptive coverage.

"We applaud the Obama administration's unwavering support for implementing the Affordable Care Act in ways that will ensure women have access to basic preventive care, including contraception," said Debra L. Ness, president of the National Partnership for Women & Families.

"That is a fundamental promise of reform, and a critical advance for women's health," she said.


 

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+24 # michelle 2013-02-02 12:34
Why all this kowtowing? "All employers are required to do __X__." You are an employer, therefore you are required, like all other employers, to follow the rules regarding (child labor or worker safety or overtime pay or ... contraception coverage).
Follow the rules or face penalties. Simple.
 
 
+25 # reiverpacific 2013-02-02 12:34
"COMPROMISE, COMPROMISE!!!"
There's that blasted word again.
Fuck the Catholic and other Church -based hospitals and organizations imposing their Medievalist morés on others.
Remember Savita Halappanavar's death in Ireland after being denied an abortion? That's the logical extended outcome of this same mentality.
Compromise be damned -progress has been choked for too long by those with whom Obama keeps "compromising" -off with their heads!
 
 
+13 # Majikman 2013-02-02 13:04
Hear! Hear! Compromise? Hell no, it's not compromise..it' s capitulation to temper tantrums from bigots...and criminal pedophiles.
 
 
-7 # EPGAH3 2013-02-02 20:50
If that makes you mad, remember, he gave the Moslem Cult exemption from ObamaCare's rules!
 
 
+12 # 666 2013-02-02 12:38
the only contraception we need is from this president's legendary "compromises".. . once he starts conceding you know he's given up. This whole thing will end up with "no contraception for all"
 
 
+17 # Regina 2013-02-02 12:53
Where in the American Constitution is there a provision for a right to misogyny? All these employers' claims for their religious freedom are also claims for women's lesser citizenship. It's ugly enough that the ERA stalled -- we don't need a return to the Dark Ages.
 
 
+15 # Davethinks 2013-02-02 13:48
This is another example of certain religious groups being given special privileges that ALWAYS costs everyone else. We need health plans with no exceptions for select groups because we know from history that each exception invites further exceptions until the whole thing is destroyed.
 
 
+16 # Cassandra2012 2013-02-02 14:02
Yes, if these religion-based hospitals want exemptions unavailable to anyone else, then they should also be 'EXEMPTED' from any federal (taxpayer-funde d) monies for their institutions.

If they are on the dole from federal funds, they need to adhere to the same rules as everyone else!
 
 
+1 # EPGAH3 2013-02-02 20:53
Actually, I've long thought that religious institutions should no longer be tax-exempt.
Also, my own Grandmother is in a hospital that is refusing to discharge her after treatment, trying to milk (bilk?) Medicare as much as possible. No wonder the Moslem Cult and the State of Nebraska wanted out of Obama's "New Deal" on healthcare!
 
 
+15 # Smokey 2013-02-02 16:19
Hmmmmm.... I object to the use of my tax dollars in support of military adventures in the Middle East. It's a matter of conscience. How do I apply for a tax exemption?

My sister is a vegetarian and an animal rights activist. It's a matter of conscience. She doesn't want her tax dollars to be used to purchase meat products. How does she get a tax exemption?

Why should Christian Scientists be required to pay taxes to help support medical care programs? It's a matter of conscience.

Yeah, gimme a break.
 
 
+9 # Kootenay Coyote 2013-02-02 16:34
Good compromise? in a compromise, both parties yield something: that’s the ‘com’ part. This is merely a short, bent step backwards.
 
 
+9 # vt143 2013-02-02 18:17
Why the exception???? I was against the Viet Nam war and the Iraq war and accepted the fact that we don't have a "line item veto" on what our taxes do and do not pay for (wish we did!!). There are tons of things that my taxes pay for the repulse me but we live in a pluralistic society and we must accept what laws are passed whether we be an individual or a religion. Period.
 
 
-7 # lnason@umassd.edu 2013-02-03 06:35
This "compromise" is more misdirection. Under this proposal the costs of providing what pro-lifers see as abortions will still be paid by insurance rate-payers including all taxpayers and all those with religious convictions against abortions.

I'm pro-choice in this debate but I think it is morally reprehensible for us to force those who do not agree with us to pay for what they see as murder.

Worse, this does not address the issue of those pro-life religious organizations that provide self-insurance for their employees -- in those cases, the religious organization MUST still pay for abortifacients directly.

Either the Administration is stupid and can't understand the opposition's position or, more likely, they are being disingenuous and political, trying to con us into believing that this is a "compromise" when it is just a shell game.

Lee Nason
New Bedford, Massachusetts
 
 
+1 # 666 2013-02-04 20:28
lee,
"I think it is morally reprehensible for us to force those who do not agree with us to pay for what they see as murder."

-- so I can stop paying taxes for obama's drone war of aggression? right! I hear there's property available on Ruby Ridge, Montana
 
 
0 # lorenbliss 2013-02-03 12:07
Another (predictable) example of the president's post-electoral transformation from Obama the Orator back to Barack the Betrayer. Worse, in this newest betrayal of women's rights, another example of the escalating imposition of Christian theocracy, blatantly by the Republicans, more sneakily by the Democrats, the implicit behind-the-scen es doctrinal unity once more proving the Big Lie of the so-called two-party system.
 
 
+1 # BradFromSalem 2013-02-04 08:23
Here's a compromise. Any employer that does not want to provide the minimum legally required health insurance coverage for their employees, must pay the full extra premium to put all their employees on Medicare.

If they refuse, they lose whatever federal liscence they need to operate their business.
 
 
0 # 666 2013-02-04 20:29
Brad, how about those who cant play by the rules simply forfeit their assets to "we the people"?
 
 
+1 # Glen 2013-02-04 08:50
EPGAH3, the assertion of Muslims wishing out of the healthcare is false. Pulse, much of this healthcare doesn't go into effect until 2014.
 

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