The Anchoress advises that Catholic Health Services rejects Obama's accommodation.
According to the Washington Post:
Sharpening an election-year confrontation over religious freedom and government health insurance rules, the nation’s Catholic hospitals on Friday rejected President Barack Obama’s compromise for providing birth control coverage to their women employees.
The Catholic Health Association was a key ally in Obama’s health care overhaul, defying opposition from church bishops to help the president win approval in Congress. But the group said Friday it does not believe church-affiliated employers should have to provide birth control as a free preventive service, as the law now requires.
The hospital group’s decision calls into question a compromise offered by the president himself only months ago, under which the cost of providing birth control would be covered by insurance companies and not religious employers. While churches and other places of worship are exempt from the birth control mandate, nonprofits affiliated with a religion, such as hospitals, are not.
The Anchoress explains that this is a big deal because the CHA originally played "Uncle Tom" to Obama's non-accommodation:
This is, as the Deac says, “big news.”. If it seems written in benign fashion by the WaPo, and dropped late on a Friday in summer, Rocco Palmo explains why:
Coming in a five-page letter sent today by the Catholic Health Association to a top HHS administrator, the move (including draft proposals for an acceptable revision of the controversial Federal rule) follows months of tension between the US hierarchy and the association representing some 2,000 Stateside church health facilities, whose president, Daughter of Charity Sister Carol Keehan, stoked the ire of much of the hierarchy after voicing her approval of the White House’s February “accommodation” on the plan, which the bishops deemed as being insufficient.
Today’s letter was signed by Keehan, CHA’s current board chair [Joseph R. Swedish], and his designated successor.
Recall that Sister Keehan’s initial approval of the “accommodation”, like Dionne’s, was released via the White House religion press portal almost simultaneously with the WH announcement; it gave enormous political cover to the president, and helped him to divide a church that had — quickly and uncharacteristically — united against the HHS Mandate. Now, she’s walking it back.
That’s why this is a big deal. CHA represents over 600 Catholic hospitals and hundreds of nursing and rehab facilities; that’s a lot of Catholic energy to be out of agreement with the US Bishops. Perhaps they considered the recent (largely media-ignored) lawsuits filed against the Obama administration in 12 jurisdictions by 43 Catholic entities (including Notre Dame University), and began to consider the HHS enterprise a loser. Hard to tell.