MJS: New health rule irks Catholic hospitals

They defied the bishops to support President Barack Obama's health care overhaul. Now Catholic hospitals are dismayed that the law might force them to cover birth control free of charge to their employees. [Ah! To be young and naive again!]

A provision in the law expanded preventive health care benefits for women, and the administration said recently that must include birth control with no copays. The Catholic Health Association said a proposed conscience exemption is so narrowly written that it would apply only to houses of worship. Some other religious-based organizations agree.

"I call this the parish housekeeper exemption - that's about all it covers," said Sister Carol Keehan, president of the 600-member umbrella group for Catholic hospitals. "What we are trying to do is make workable the conscience protection the administration says it is willing to give."

Most Catholic hospitals do not cover birth control for their employees, Keehan said, but in some cases, they are required to by state law. Doctors caring for patients at the hospitals are not restricted from prescribing birth control.

Milwaukee's Columbia-St. Mary's and Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare systems don't provide employees coverage for contraceptives, except for certain prescribed medical conditions, and they will be watching the process through the comment period.

"We share the Catholic Health Association's concerns that the definition of religious organizations is too narrow," said Anne Ballentine, spokeswoman for Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare.
more at MJS


Dad29 said...

Did I miss something?

They defied the bishops to support President Barack Obama's health care overhaul.

IIRC, the USCC was just all hunky-dory with ObamaCare, except for the abortion coverage. So exactly WHAT did "the Bishops" do, aside from compromise with a life-long-lying sack and lose it all in the end?

Badger Catholic said...

Keehan will probably still keep the pen.