KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Catholic Bishops’ ‘Religious Freedom’ Campaign Includes Action Against Contraception Coverage Mandate

The organization released a document on Thursday about its upcoming religious freedom campaign.

The Hill: Catholic Bishops Issue 'Call To Action' On Religious Freedom
All Americans should be "on guard" as the Obama administration threatens religious liberty, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops declared Thursday. The call to action is spelled out in a document, "Our First, Most Cherished Liberty," developed by the conference's Ad Hoc Committee on Religious Liberty (Pecquet, 4/12).

The New York Times: Catholic Bishops Urge Campaign For Religious Freedom
In the document, the bishops seek to explain that their alarm is not only about the mandate in the health reform act that requires even Catholic colleges and hospitals to have insurance plans that cover birth control. They cite seven examples of what they say are violations of religious freedom (Goodstein, 4/12).

CNN: After Contraception Controversy, Catholic Church Announces Religious Freedom Campaign
The document also said that the federal government recently revised its contract with the Catholic Church's Migration and Refugee Services to require it to provide or refer women to contraceptive and abortion services, in violation of Catholic teaching (Gilgoff, 4/12).

In other news related to the coverage mandate -

Politico Pro: Contraception Fight May Preview Suits Ahead
As the Supreme Court prepares to decide the fate of the health reform law's individual mandate, the next round of legal punches to the law is waiting in the wings — but they'll have to clear some big legal hurdles. At least nine groups have already filed lawsuits challenging the law's requirement that nearly all employers provide insurance coverage for contraceptives, including the so-called "morning after pill." Before the lawsuits can go anywhere, the challengers will have to prove that they have the right to sue now. That could be difficult because the Obama administration says the lawsuits should be stalled until it finishes its work on new policy to shift the coverage burden to insurance companies. Plus, one of the challengers has a health plan that currently covers birth control (Haberkorn, 4/13).

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