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Posted on Jun 28, 2013 | 1 comment

Final HHS Rules: Same as Proposed Rules

Final HHS Rules: Same as Proposed Rules

Friday afternoon news dump: While everyone is discussing yesterday's Supreme Court decisions, HHS releases its final rule on contraception coverage for religious entities -- same as its proposed rule.

Friday afternoon news dump: While everyone is discussing yesterday’s Supreme Court decisions, HHS releases its final rule on contraception coverage for religious entities — same as its proposed rule.

The Department of Health and Human Services released its final rule for contraception coverage and religious organizations this afternoon, having made no changes to the proposed rule.

Saying that the rules “balance the goal of providing women with coverage for recommended preventive care… with no cost-sharing, with the goal of respecting the concerns of non-profit religious organizations that object to contraceptive coverage.” the HHS defines a “religious employer” as, in most cases, a “house of worship.”

Certain non-profit religious organizations will be able to exclude the coverage but, as originally proposed, the insurance companies they engage will have to provide separate coverage to all female employees and their female dependents so that, Secretary Kathleen Sebelius says, “women get the care they need, regardless of where they work.” For-profit companies must provide the coverage.

The rules were issued following a public comment period that generated an unprecedented number of comments (some, including a massive one-day dump of comments, generated by pro-abortion groups and abortion businesses). Religious non-profits were granted a one-year extension from providing coverage for the items in question while the rule was being adjusted to “accommodate” them; that extension ends August 1st.

Look for analysis next week. For our story on Kathleen Sebelius telegraphing what the Rule would be while it was supposedly being finalized, click here.  To read the final rules, click here.

1 Comment

  1. EWTN’s Statement On The Final Rule for the HHS Mandate
    [your 24 hour Catholic Media on cable (free to any company or hospital),radio, internet (www.ewtn.com) or paper (National Catholic REGISTER):

    Irondale, AL (EWTN) – Today, the Department of Health and Human Services issued a final rule for the contraception mandate portion of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). EWTN and its attorneys are still assessing this final rule, but our initial analysis has been disappointing.

    “The final rule issued today is inadequate because it appears to have changed nothing,” said EWTN President & Chief Executive Officer Michael P. Warsaw. Specifically, it imposes the same narrow definition of a church, does not expand the exemption beyond churches, and still provides a meaningless “accommodation.” In short, it appears to have ignored the unprecedented number of public comments made against this HHS Mandate.

    The proposed rule released in February of 2013 separated organizations into churches, eligible organizations, and everyone else. Under that proposed rule, religious organizations were fully exempt, eligible organizations received an accommodation, and everyone else was mandated to pay for abortion-causing drugs, contraceptives, and voluntary sterilization procedures. EWTN filed public comments strongly arguing that these services and drugs are not health care, are validly objectionable on grounds other than religious beliefs, and that the rule was faulty for allowing only churches to be fully exempt while leaving organizations like EWTN on shaky ground, unable to reliably determine if it even qualifies as an eligible organization. The proposed rule also failed to show that the “accommodation” provided for eligible organizations did anything to actually accommodate reasonable objection to the mandated services.

    Despite this news, we are encouraged by the recent court victories for Tyndale Publishers and Hobby Lobby because these cases demonstrate that the rule unfairly limits religious liberty and first amendment rights. EWTN and its attorneys at the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty will continue to assess the options at this time.

    Said Warsaw: “EWTN remains committed to fighting this senseless mandate.”

    EWTN Global Catholic Network, in its 32nd year, is available in over 225 million television households in more than 140 countries and territories. With its direct broadcast satellite television and radio services, AM & FM radio networks, worldwide short-wave radio station, Internet website http://www.ewtn.com, electronic and print news services, and publishing arm, EWTN is the largest religious media network in the world.