Obama administration to revise part of contraception rule

Obama administration to revise part of contraception rule July 23, 2014

With everything else going on, somehow this news got buried.

From The Wall Street Journal:

The Obama administration said Tuesday it will revise a compromise arrangement for religiously affiliated universities and charities that object to providing contraception in workers’ health insurance plans, in response to a Supreme Court order earlier this month.A majority of Supreme Court justices granted Wheaton College, an Illinois Christian school, a temporary reprieve from contraception coverage requirements in the Affordable Care Act on July 3. That was days after the high court ruled that closely held for-profit companies such as arts-and-crafts chain Hobby Lobby should be allowed to opt out of the provision if their owners have religious objections to certain forms of birth control.

The Obama administration had offered nonprofit institutions such as Wheaton a specific alternative to the health law requirements in which they could file a form with the federal government that would result in contraceptive coverage being provided by an insurance company instead. That move had been an effort to defuse resistance with the Catholic Church and other faith groups to the original requirement. Wheaton, along with other high-profile challengers such as the University of Notre Dame, filed lawsuits saying the arrangement was inadequate because they would still be complicit in the provision of birth control by submitting the form.

The Supreme Court’s Wheaton order said that the federal government should allow the college to simply state its objections to the Department of Health and Human Services, rather than filing forms that authorize its insurance company to take on responsibility for coverage.

Justice Department lawyers said in a brief filed Tuesday with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit that the federal government would issue new regulations in the next month that will apply to all nonprofit institutions that say the faith with which they are affiliated is opposed to the use of most forms of contraception.

“The Wheaton College injunction does not reflect a final Supreme Court determination,” the brief said. “Nevertheless, the Departments responsible for implementing the accommodations have informed us that they have determined to augment the regulatory accommodation process in light of the Wheaton College injunction and that they plan to issue interim final rules within a month. We will inform the Court when the rules are issued.”

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