Catholic Health Rebuffs Obama, HHS Birth Control Mandate
President Obama’s support for his signature health care act took a fresh hit Friday. The Catholic Health Association, the nation’s largest private health care provider, has rebuffed the latest White House moves to make its contraception coverage mandate more acceptable to Catholics and conservative evangelicals.
The CHA was a critical voice in getting the Affordable Care Act passed in 2009. Sister Carol Keehan, head of CHA, drew standing ovations from progressive Catholics while the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops was sputtering mad, arguing that protections to avoid taxpayer funding of abortion was inadequate.
But the ACA also contained provisions for the Department of Health and Human Services to establish what kinds of essential preventative health care must be offered in all insurance plans without co-payments.
When HHS and the Obama Administration came out with the contraception-coverage-with-no-co-pays requirement it caused a firestorm among the doctrine-minded faithful. It offered no exception for faith-based organizations and institutions that offered services other than prayer, worship and religious education for co-believers.