The Obama administration is trying to play both sides in the debate over its controversial decision last month to force religious employers to cover contraception in employee health insurance plans, according to reports.
White House aides met with liberal groups on Tuesday to garner support and assure them that the rule will stand, while press secretary Jay Carney tried to assuage concerns by suggesting the policy's phase-in period provides time to find an agreeable way forward. Three Democratic female senators also penned a Wednesday op-ed defending the decision.
One compromise could be modeled on a Hawaiian law, in which contraception is covered like prescription drugs, according to The Wall Street Journal. Religious employers could enroll workers in a reduced-premium plan that doesn't cover contraception, while employees would be able to upgrade to a plan that does, for a fee. Fallout over the decision caught White House advisers by surprise, The Journal reported.
Democratic Senators Jeanne Shaheen, N.H., Barbara Boxer, Calif., and Patty Murray, Wash., defended the decision, writing in a Journal op-ed: "Improving access to birth control is good health policy and good economic policy. It will mean healthier women, healthier children and healthier families."