One More Reason to Nix the Restrictive HHS Exemption

In her interview with Kaiser Health News, Sr. Carol Keehan said this:

The Catholic Health Association has worked for decades to get more coverage for people. So when we heard about the preventive services provisions, we were very pleased. Take a single mother with two children. A $20 co-pay for a mammogram may be the difference between dinner for the two days before payday or filling her child’s asthma prescription.

So the preventive services to allow for physicals, mammograms, colonoscopies, etc. were, to us, very, very important. That HHS included contraceptive coverage and sterilizations was not unexpected but, frankly, we did expect and felt all along that the typical exemption for a religious institution that has religious objections to it would be honored.

Now, someone in the Obama White House should ask themselves this question: Has there been any real public discussion about the fact that physicals, mammograms, and colonscopies are now all going to be covered, without co-pays, by the Affordable Care Act? No, of course not, because we have been discussing whether or not the government has the right to force Catholic institutions to pay for procedures and prescriptions the Church deems morally problematic. So, a bit of advice to the White House, HHS, Democrats on Capitol Hill and elsewhere: Stop picking a fight with the Catholic Church, adopt Sr. Carol's proposal for providing universal access to contracpetion (something the current HHS stance does NOT do) and start calling attention to the many good things the Affordable Care Act will accomplish.

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