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Catholic bishops reject revised ObamaCare contraceptive rule


ASSOCIATED PRESS

Source:
FoxNews
Type:
Media/Opinion
Date:
2/8/2013

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ABSTRACTCatholic bishops reject revised ObamaCare contraceptive rule | Fox News Fox News Digital Network   Fox News   Fox Business   uReport   Fox News Radio   Fox News Latino   Fox Nation   Fox News Insider Login Account You're logged in as   Edit Profile Logout Search Site On Air Now › On Air Personalities ›   Home Video Politics U.S. Opinion Entertainment Tech Science Health Travel Lifestyle World Sports On Air Previous Slide Next Slide Politics Home Executive Branch U.S. Senate House of Representatives State & Local Courts Pentagon 2012 Election Results Catholic bishops reject revised ObamaCare contraceptive rule Published February 08, 2013 FoxNews.com Feb. 10, 2012: President Obama and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius leave the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington. AP Catholic bishops have rejected the Obama administration's latest proposal on mandatory contraceptive coverage, vowing to continue to fight for changes before the policy becomes final.  After reviewing the administration's proposal unveiled last week, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops said it stands by its earlier concerns.  "Because the stakes are so high, we will not cease from our effort to assure that healthcare for all does not mean freedom for few," New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan, president of the bishops' conference, said in a statement.  Under the federal health care overhaul, the administration has pressed to require most employers to provide access to free contraceptive coverage.  The rule exempts houses of worship and creates an "accommodation" for religious-affiliated employers like schools and hospitals -- at which employees could obtain contraceptive coverage through a separate policy.  The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, though, said a bigger buffer is needed between religious charities and any third party arranging contraceptive coverage. Bishops also want a clearer statement that faith-affiliated hospitals and other nonprofits are religious ministries. And church leaders continue pressing for an exemption for owners of for-profit business who say the requirement forces them to violate their religious beliefs.  The government has given no indication that it is considering a religious opt-out for business owners.  The bishops made their comments nearly a week after the Department of Health and Human Services announced another revision on coverage for contraception. The regulation is part of President Obama's health care overhaul, known as the Affordable Care Act.  The department had no reaction Thursday to the bishops' criticism, pointing only to an earlier pledge that the government wants to find a solution that would provide the coverage to women while respecting religious concerns.  The HHS announced the proposed rules a year ago. The initial plan contained a religious exemption that many faith groups, including many who have been supportive of health care reform, said was too narrow. The rule covered churches and other houses of worship but not faith-affiliated hospitals, charities, colleges and other nonprofits.  Dozens of religious groups and for-profit business owners have sued over the regulation, saying it violates their religious rights. Advocates for the broadest coverage argued employers are trying to impose their religious beliefs on workers. The issue is expected to reach the Supreme Court.  The Obama administration, meanwhile, has been trying to develop a plan that could resolve religious concerns.  Under the proposal the government offered last week, the definition of a religious organization was simplified. It would now include, for example, a mosque whose food pantry serves the entire community and not just its own members.  For other religious employers, the new approach attempted to put a barrier between religious charities and contraception coverage. Female employees would still have free access through insurers or a third party, but the employer would not have to arrange for the coverage or pay for it. Insurers would be reimbursed for any costs by a credit against fees owed the government.  Dolan said the proposal creates an unacceptable second-class status for f.......