President Barack Obama and HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius held a news conference today and promised to revise a regulation that has ignited a firestorm of protest across the United States. However, the details provided in the White House “Fact Sheet” suggest that the administration is simply reaffirming the existing regulation while making a promise work with objecting institutions to find a compromise during a one-year grace period. This is essentially what Secretary Sebelius announced on 20 January. What is new is the suggestion that coverage might be offered by insurance companies without the active participation of employers who object. When developing the proposal, the administration did not consult with the Unites States Conference of Catholic Bishops, which has been the most determined and vociferous critic of the regulation.
The proposal was not published in the United States Federal Register on 10 February, as promised by the White House “Fact Sheet”.