Lew defends adminstration on contraception, McConnell calls for president to 'back down'

The Hill: McConnell: Birth-Control Debate Ends When Obama 'Backs Down' 
The Republican battle against the President Obama's new birth-control mandate will continue until the policy is reversed, the top GOP senator warned Sunday. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Obama's rule requiring employer-based healthcare plans – even those sponsored by faith-based groups – to cover contraception infringes on the religious freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution (Lillis, 2/12).

Politico: Santorum Sides With Bishops 
Big shocker here. Rick Santorum supports the Catholic bishops in their fight against the modified mandate to provide contraception through church-run schools and hospitals, which he calls "no compromise." He then went on to say a few things that progressives won't agree with: "No one," he said on NBC's "Meet the Press," "is denying [women] birth control" (Thrush, 2/12).

The Associated Press: Top Republican Wants Vote On Birth Control Mandate
Conservatives said Sunday the flap surrounding President Barack Obama's birth control mandate was far from over ... "It's riddled with constitutional problems," McConnell said of Obama's broader health-care plan. "And this is what happens when the government tries to take over health care and tries to interfere with your religious beliefs." ... [Rick Santorum said:] "They are forcing religious organizations, either directly or indirectly, to pay for something that they find is a deeply, morally, you know, wrong thing. And this is not what the government should be doing" (Flaherty, 2/12).

Los Angeles Times: White House's Jack Lew Defends Revised Birth-Control Rule
White House Chief of Staff Jack Lew said Sunday that President Obama had found the "right balance" in mandating birth control coverage while protecting religious liberty, and he said the administration would now press ahead to adopt a final rule requiring health insurers to make contraceptives available to all policyholders at no cost. ... "This is not going to cost the insurance companies," Lew said on ABC's This Week, because birth control reduces costs over the long term. (Savage, 2/12).

The Wall Street Journal: White House: No More Compromise on Contraception
"I have to say that the solution that we came up with puts no religious institution in a position where it either has to pay for or facilitate the provision of benefits they find objectionable," Mr. Lew said on CNN's State of the Union with Candy Crowley. Mr. Lew said the president put out a solid plan, and when asked whether there is more room for compromising said, "No. This is our plan." In an appearance on CBS's "Face the Nation," Mr. Lew said, "We're going to go ahead and implement it." He said the White House has "broad consensus – not universal consensus – that this is an approach that's right" (Favole and Barnes, 2/12).

National Journal: Romney Takes on Hecklers at Tense Maine Town Hall
Romney also waded into the political fray over the decision by the Obama administration today to require insurers, rather than private employers, to pay for coverage of contraception. ... "Companies consist of people, and someone has to pay -- the owners, the employees or the customers, and they pass those costs on to the customers," he said (Kaplan, 2/10).

The New York Times: Romney's Path to 'Pro-Life' Position on Abortion
From the moment he left business for politics, the issue of abortion has bedeviled Mitt Romney. ... He tangled with President Obama last week over whether religiously affiliated hospitals should be required to provide free contraceptives -; "abortive pills," Mr. Romney called them. ... The comments reflect Mr. Romney's evolution from abortion rights advocate to abortion foe; gone was any trace of the candidate for governor who, 10 years ago, answered a Planned Parenthood questionnaire by saying he backed "state funding of abortion services" under Medicaid (Stolberg, 2/11).


http://www.kaiserhealthnews.orgThis article was reprinted from kaiserhealthnews.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.

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