April 26, 2012
HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius received a number of questions on the contraception mandate this morning during the U.S. House of Representatives Education and Workforce Committee hearing “Reviewing the President’s Fiscal Year 2013 Budget Proposal for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.” In addition to Secretary Sebeliuss answers to Rep. Trey Gowdy (R,SC) which Jeanne blogged about earlier today, Rep. Martha Roby (R, AL) also questioned Secretary Sebelius about the contraception mandate.
Taking a slightly different tack from Gowdy, Rep. Roby asked Secretary Sebelius why religious organizations, such as the Roman Catholic television/radio station Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN) based in her Alabama district was not exempt from HHSs mandate. Secretary Sebelius blamed the Institutes of Medicine (IOM) for recommending contraception, abortifacients and sterilization, even though her department requested IOM to make recommendations, and she blamed the narrow exemption on states. She didnt say that most religious employers in states with narrow exemptions to their state contraception mandate can change their plans in ways to get around the mandate. Indeed, the federal mandate is more comprehensive and applies to plans even if they self-insure. The exchange between Sec. Sebelius and Rep. Roby can be viewed here.