Taking a conciliatory tone and asking for a wide range of public comment, the Obama administration announced this afternoon new accommodations on a controversial mandate requiring contraceptive coverage in health care plans. Coming after a month of continued opposition from the U.S. bishops to the mandate, which was first revised in early February to exempt certain religious organizations, today’s announced changes from the Department of Health and Human Services make a number of concessions, including allowing religious organizations that self-insure to be made exempt. (more…)
The U.S. bishops are strongly united in their ongoing and determined efforts to protect religious freedom, the Administrative Committee of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) said in a March 14 statement. Read more.
On Monday morning, Governor Dayton released a supplemental budget proposal that focuses mostly on addressing concerns from last year’s budget. The recent February Forecast projected a small surplus for the current budget cycle, so no major budget changes are required. Read more.
Supreme Court to hear oral arguments this month on constitutional challenges to health reform
CHA has joined five other national hospital groups in a legal battle to support hard-won health reform legislation that it considers to be crucial to expanding health care to uninsured Americans.
The association is signed on to two “friend-of-the-court” briefs in the U.S. Supreme Court, where a state challenge to the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will be argued late this month. The briefs urge the justices to uphold two specific provisions of health care reform: the health insurance mandate (which requires nearly all Americans to have health insurance by 2014 or face fines) and the expansion of Medicaid to individuals with incomes up to 133 percent of the federal poverty level.
Cardinal Dolan Voices Dismay at Handling by White House in Letter Updating Bishops on HHS Mandate Controversy
Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York voiced dismay in the Administration’s handling of the church as the White House and the church seek to work out religious freedom problems found in a mandate in the new health care reform bill. Read more.
The Catholic Health Association of Minnesota (CHA-MN), an association of Catholic healthcare providers, and the Minnesota Catholic Conference (MCC), the public policy voice of the Catholic Church in Minnesota, today urged State lawmakers to create a state-level health insurance exchange that fulfills the aspirations of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) to give Minnesotans greater access to quality, affordable healthcare. Under the PPACA, states must show by January 1, 2013 that they are actively implementing an exchange that will be operating by January 1, 2014, or the federal government will impose one. (more…)