Health Care In The States

Catholic Contraception Controversy: The State Of Pay

By Diane Webber

February 8th, 2012, 5:00 PM

Two Democratic governors — Gov. Dannel Malloy of Connecticut and Gov. Martin O’Malley of Maryland — tried to tamp down the controversy over contraception coverage at Catholic institutions this week by quoting the same number:  28 states already require insurance coverage of contraception.

That’s true and it’s mentioned in a state policy brief by the reproductive health think tank, the Guttmacher Institute. But it’s not the whole story.

The same report shows that 20 of those 28 states have exemptions from the coverage policy for religious employers and insurers. Guttmacher categorizes eight of those exemptions as “expansive” – and both Connecticut and Maryland are in that category.

For Maryland, that means that most Catholic schools, universities and hospitals are not required to cover contraception for their employees. In Connecticut, religious insurers are required to offer contraceptive coverage through a subcontract, according to the report.

Eight states have no exemption – so Catholic employers in Colorado, Georgia, Iowa, Montana, New Hampshire, Texas, Vermont, Virginia and Wisconsin must provide contraception coverage under state laws.

Four more states have a limited exemption that cleaves closely to the new federal rule. That rule applies narrowly to churches that employ mainly members of their own faith. The four states with narrow exemptions from the contraception coverage mandate are Arizona, California, New York and Rhode Island.

Massachusetts is on the roster of states with an exemption to the coverage mandate that Guttmacher labels as “broader” — meaning that most churches and  schools don’t have to provide birth control coverage but universities and hospitals do.

Elizabeth Nash is the state issues manager for Guttmacher; she put together the policy brief. Nash says there’s wide variation state to state, and that the coverage laws have evolved over time. “The first law was adopted in 1998 in Maryland, and it had a very broad exemption, ‘Religious organizations may opt out.’ There was no definition of what a religious organization is,” Nash said.

It is unclear how many Catholic institutions would be affected if the new federal rule goes into effect, which is increasingly in doubt as political pressure from within Democratic circles heats up. A spokeswoman for the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities said her organization doesn’t track which of its member institutions are required to offer contraception coverage under state laws.

Calls to the Catholic Health Association, representing Catholic hospitals, and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops were not returned by press time.

Jeff Cohen of WNPR in Connecticut contributed to this report. This is part of a reporting partnership that includes NPR, member stations and Kaiser Health News.

7 Responses to “Catholic Contraception Controversy: The State Of Pay”

  1. Muhammad says:

    State laws that require Catholic Universities and Hospitals to supply contraceptives should be overturned, since those laws violate the religious freedom of Catholics.

    This Federal Healthcare Provision initiated by Obama requiring Catholic Universities and Hospitals to supply contraceptives must be gotten rid of as well.

  2. aed939 says:

    But there is also the ability of Catholic Hospitals and Universities to self-insure to get around the state requirements. In the federal mandate, there is no exemption for self-insured institutions.

  3. Quoting State Law requirements misses the vast majority of employers and specifically hospitals, universities, and many non-profits because most are self-funded and currently exempt from state law. That is why there is such a dramatic effect. Now all religious employers, regardless of whether they are self-insured or fully-insured will be required to comply.

  4. angie says:

    I’ve been employed at an urban Catholic hospital group for the past 25 years. I work in the diagnostic imaging and radiology department. I have been trained and certified to operate all of the state-of-the-art diagnostic equipment in all five of our hospitals. I receive a competitive salary and competitive benefits. I currently have a comprehensive health care plan that includes contraceptive health care. If my employer decides, for “any” reason, to change my health care benefits so that I no longer have contraceptive coverage, I will quit and find a job at a different hospital group that offers full comprehensive coverage. With the training I have, it will not be a problem getting hired. The entire topic of contraception is a health care topic. I will not accept less health care coverage just because the pope decides to preach against contraception from the pulpit!

  5. KC says:

    Pay out of your own pocket for your birth control pills……the medical definition of health care is the prevention, treatment and management of illness ………and pregnancy is not an illness. I will not pay for your personal choices. It’s time for you to quit and go get that new job.

  6. TruthSayer says:

    One might look at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission thinks about it..

    I hope someone Sues the Catholic Church over this… They will lose.. Religious Freedom does NOT trump Everything.. Or even most Anything within our Constitution.. Which in this Country is Higher than Christian Law.. ANY Christian Law..

    In December 2000, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission made it clear that an employer’s failure to provide coverage of contraception, when it covers other prescription drugs and preventive care, is a violation of protections against sex discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act; those protections for employees’ benefits include no
    exemption for religious employers.

  7. TruthSayer says:

    It is sad Certain Churches think they are above our Constitution and can Discriminate at will against whomever they wish using God as their Source of Justification…

    I ask any Christian to point out any specific section of the Bible that says Contraception Specifically is a Sin…..

    I am not saying Sex out of Wedlock…

    Contraception itself…

    I bet you will find any Reference to Contraception Absent from the Good Book…..

    Here is what Catholics apparently teach…

    “Onan, however, knew that the descendants would not be counted as his; so whenever he had relations with his brother’s widow, he wasted his seed on the ground, to avoid contributing offspring for his brother. What he did greatly offended the Lord, and the Lord took his life.” (Cf. Genesis 38:1ff). Here is a basic form of contraception � withdrawal, and clearly a sin in the eyes of God.

    LOL I have a different take on that…

    It is not the wasted seed frowned down upon.. It is the Cuckholding of His BROTHERS WIFE…

    So what did he do to Offend the lord?

    We know the Commandments..

    And he certainly Coveted His Brothers Wife… Again it is NEVER stated expressly that Contraception of ANY FORM is against Gods Law… This idea of Contraception as sin is MAN MADE.