Catholic Health Association withdraws support from contraception compromise

The Catholic Health Association, the largest group of nonprofit healthcare providers in the nation, is defending its Friday letter to Obama Administration, opposing the contraception compromise.

In a Kaiser News interview on Tuesday with CHA Chief Sister Carol Keehan, the Catholic hospital leader reiterated its decision not to support birth control coverage.

While Keehan stressed that CHA supports the reform itself and many of its policies, such as broader coverage particularly for low-income families, it could not support the compromise as whole because the compromise still would require coverage for contraception and sterilization. Keehan expressed disappointment that the reform compromise for religious institutions doesn't respect religious objections, she said.

In February, the Obama administration submitted an initial compromise that seemed to placate CHA on the issue. This compromise required insurers and not the religious-affiliated employer to pay for coverage. However, CHA was unable to successfully coordinate this plan with its insurers and therefore withdrew support.

When asked how CHA, a group of providers deeply rooted in non-profit healthcare, could deny any type of preventable care to its workers, Keehan said that CHA does not wish to deny women access to care but suggests they attain it through other methods.

"The government has plethora of programs that they use to make contraceptives available right now," Keehan said in the interview. "If you want them available to women, please do it through a government program."

With CHA's recent objections, the White House has lost perhaps its most prominent Catholic ally in the controversial effort to expand contraception coverage, The Washington Post reported.

To learn more:
- read the KHN interview
- here's the Washington Post article