Proposal to pay for contraceptive cost ‘radically flawed,’ say bishops
Even with a new federal proposal that third-party administrators pay the costs of contraceptives for religious employers who object to the coverage, the health reform law’s contraceptive mandate “remains radically flawed,” according to the U.S. bishops.
The bishops made the comments in an internal memo March 29. A copy of it was released to Catholic News Service April 2.
The memo came in response to a rule proposed by the U.S. Department for Health and Human Services in a 32-page document that was published March 21 in the Federal Register. HHS has proposed new ways for religious organizations that have moral objections to providing free contraceptives to their employees to comply with the requirement.
Among the suggestions are having the costs covered by a “third-party administrator” of a health plan or “independent agency” that receive funds from other sources, such as rebates from drug makers.
Before it makes a final decision on the proposed ruling, the Obama administration is seeking public comment until June 19.
In their memo, the bishops said the details of the proposal are “both tentative and complex and demand further study.” But based on an initial analysis, they said, the proposal had “the same fundamental issues” they had addressed in a March 14 statement titled “United for Religious Freedom.” [More]