Catholic hospitals accept birth control compromise

In a split with U.S. bishops, a trade group for Catholic hospitals said Tuesday it can accept the Obama’s administration latest compromise on birth control coverage by religious employers.

“We are pleased that our members now have an accommodation that will not require them to contract, provide, pay or refer for contraceptive coverage,” said the Catholic Health Association.

Under President Barack Obama’s health care law, most employers are required to cover birth control as a free preventive service for women workers. Churches and other houses of worship are fully exempt from the mandate. But religiously-affiliated hospitals, universities and social service groups are not.

The compromise, in a final regulation from the administration, attempts to create a buffer for these employers. It requires insurers or the health plan’s outside administrator to pay for birth control coverage, and creates a mechanism for reimbursing them.