Catholic World News

CHA head emphasizes: government program, not Catholic hospitals, should pay for contraceptive coverage

June 20, 2012

The CEO of the Catholic Health Association has explained why the association recently called upon the Obama administration to broaden the religious exemption to the HHS mandate to include Catholic hospitals.

“Initially, we felt like we were being told that that was in the works,” said Sister Carol Keehan. “I don’t want to second guess why that changed, but when it changed--and all we had was a year deferment if we were a ministry of the church and a new definition for what constituted a religious organization--we were very concerned,”

“And I expressed those concerns directly to the president, to all of his staff and said something had to be changed,” she continued. “Publicly and privately, I was very clear. And when the president made the first accommodation, initially, we said, 'All right, that’s a great step forward. Let’s take a look at it.' We’ve spent an enormous amount of time trying to, with his staff, with the staff of the administration, trying to say, 'Okay, how could we make this work?'”

Sister Keehan added:

Many, many, many of our organizations offer a choice in health coverage to their staffs. So they would have two different ways of dealing with their employees on this issue and, quite frankly, many of our members were hearing from local insurance companies and agents that 'well, we may not carve out explicitly how we’re charging you for this but there is no free lunch and you are going to pay for it one way or the other.' That was exactly what the goal was not. The goal was to not pay. And that’s not the fault of the White House. That’s the reality of the marketplace.

“The government has plethora of programs that they use to make contraceptives available right now,” she continued. “If you want them available to women, please do it through a government program.”

“That’s why in our letter we have said very clearly, give it to them through a government program,” she added. “We’re not suggesting anything that would prevent them from getting contraceptive coverage. And we’re not saying only do it to the non-Catholics. We’re saying if you want everybody to have complete access, fine. But do it through a government program.”

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  • Posted by: Randal Mandock - Jun. 20, 2012 10:15 PM ET USA

    Assuming that this nun, dissenting Chicago priests, and their co-religionists are the source of the Obama's grasp of Catholicism, is it any wonder that he is so clueless about Catholic moral theology?

  • Posted by: lauriem5377 - Jun. 20, 2012 7:02 PM ET USA

    First of all, shunting the cost off to taxpayors whose religious beliefs find contraceptive practices (and especially those which cause a medical abortion)abhorrent is hardly a solution to be proposed by a Catholic nun. And secondly,why is a Catholic helping the government figure out how to implement these gruesome policies in direct opposition to her Catholic faith? They must be having a good laugh watching a Catholic nun doing this work for them.

  • Posted by: TheJournalist64 - Jun. 20, 2012 6:39 PM ET USA

    Here's the health facts: disabling a healthy somatic system is not medicine, and it is not health care. Contraceptives are poisons, and the end does not justify the means.

  • Posted by: sparch - Jun. 20, 2012 10:01 AM ET USA

    The point is that Catholic institutions should not be providing contraception, let alone pay for it.

  • Posted by: - Jun. 20, 2012 9:11 AM ET USA

    I suppose paying for contraceptives via a government program is slightly better, morally speaking, than forcing Catholic institutions to pay for them, but it still ends up burdening taxpayers with paying for something many consider evil. If taxpayer dollars should pay for contraceptives, why not abortion? Stranger still: since when has access to contraceptives become an essential 'health' need that everyone has a right to (and for free, to boot), like clean water?

  • Posted by: bkmajer3729 - Jun. 20, 2012 6:59 AM ET USA

    Satan offers a choice too - Do you want to go Hell by murdering, sex outside of marriage, or just indifference to all of it... At what point, Sister, does one stand up for the truth of Catholicism? Did the men and women who gave their lives for this County do so in vain? ...not to mention Christ! Krystalnacht - And if you don't think things are this bad, you must be asleep, dead, or secretly one of them.