Healthcare News May 22, 2012

  • OVERNIGHT HEALTH: Contraception debate headed to the courts

    Catholic organizations are back on the attack over the White House’s controversial contraception policy. More than 40 Catholic groups and institutions filed lawsuits over the policy Monday, charging that the mandate is a violation of the First Amendment. The Archdiocese of Washington, the University of Notre Dame and the Catholic University of America are among the plaintiffs in the 12 lawsuits filed Monday.

    “For the first time in this country’s history, the government’s new definition of religious institutions suggests that some of the very institutions that put our faith into practice — schools, hospitals, and social service organizations — are not ‘religious enough,’ ” Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington, said in a statement.

    The Justice Department has asked judges to dismiss previous lawsuits over the mandate, including an earlier challenge filed by a Catholic college and a separate suit from Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning.

    Healthwatch has the latest on the legal battle.

    Back on defense: Supporters of the contraception mandate are aghast at the spate of legal challenges. The Planned Parenthood Federation of America said Monday that access to contraception is a healthcare issue, not a religious or political debate.

  • HHS signs $20M PR contract to promote healthcare law

    The campaign was mandated by the healthcare law and must describe the importance of staying healthy and preventing disase.

  • GAO: Tax credit in healthcare law underperforms

    Fewer businesses than expected have been claiming the tax credit, which may be too small.

  • Planned Parenthood: Contraception suit ‘unbelievable’

    Legal challenges to the Obama administration’s contraception mandate are “unbelievable,” Planned Parenthood said Monday.

    Several Catholic institutions, including the University of Notre Dame and the Archdiocese of Washington, filed lawsuits Monday arguing that the contraception policy is a violation of the First Amendment.

    “It is unbelievable that in the year 2012 we have to fight for access to birth control,” said Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. “Yet this lawsuit would make it harder for millions of women to get birth control.”

    The lawsuits and the response from Planned Parenthood mirror the political debate over the birth-control mandate. Critics, most notably the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, see the policy as a question of religious freedom. But the mandate’s supporters say it’s about women’s health, not religion.

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