Obama changes health-insurance rule to placate religious groups that oppose birth control

In an effort to quell a firestorm of controversy, President Obama announced today that his administration change its new rule that requires employers to offer free birth-control coverage in their health insurance plans. The rule has outraged some Roman Catholic leaders, whose tenets prohibit artificial contraception. (Associated Press photo by Susan Walsh)
Today’s change essentially requires insurers, rather than religious employers, to cover the cost of coverage for contraception. “Any employer who has a religious objection to providing contraception will not have to provide that service to employees, but in those cases the insurer will be required to reach out directly to the employee and offer contraceptive care free of charge,” report Christi Parsons and Kathleen Hennessey of the Los Angeles Times.

Yesterday at the Conservative Political Action Conference, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky joined several other speakers in lambasting the original version of the rule, calling it “an assault on religious liberty,” reports James R. Carroll of The Courier-Journal.

Obama’s adjustment did not appear to placate most critics, but Sister Carol Keehan, president of the Catholic Health Association, said, “The framework developed has responded to the issues we identified that needed to be fixed.” (Read more)

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