Regarding “Shift on birth-control coverage gets mixed reaction,” ModernHealthcare.com, Feb. 10: this is a First Amendment rights issue and not a woman's choice or woman's healthcare issue. This is the government interfering with religious rights and religious freedoms.
It's about religious freedom, and other letters
Secondly, what most folks, including the president and his advisers, don't realize or understand is that many Catholic hospitals and other religious facilities and many companies self-fund their employees' healthcare benefits. Placing costs of contraception, abortions and prescriptions on the insurance carrier isn't an option since the company self-funds their benefits, which means that the company would be responsible to pay even if it was against their religion or moral beliefs. If President Barack Obama excludes the mandates from applying to the self-funded organizations and companies, then it will work. If not, Catholics and other religious organizations and company owners need to let our government know that this is not a solution or resolution to either problem, especially for religious freedom.
Jean RicePresident and CEOAction Healthcare ManagementPhoenix
This is just another example of how poorly informed most Americans are about their health and healthcare, and how badly people want to discredit President Barack Obama. The Supreme Court has refused to hear three previous lawsuits brought by Catholic Charities asking that they not be required to provide insurance coverage for contraception. There is clear delineation between a church (whose primary purpose is propagation of a religion) and a religiously based organization that employs and serves a diverse group of people. Churches are not required to provide insurance coverage for contraception, but once your major purpose expands to providing a service to others, you are not a church. In other words, what the Obama administration proposes is continuing the status quo, with the only change being in how much an individual woman will have to pay for the contraceptive. Just Google “Catholic Charities,” “health insurance” and “birth control,” and you will find many entries decrying this federal mandate—dating as far back as 2001.
Tamara ZurakowskiPractice associate professorUniversity of Pennsylvania School of NursingPhiladelphia
This has nothing to do with wanting to discredit anyone; this has everything to do with the Constitution of the United States. It's really not about birth control either. Whether you believe in it or not, birth control has been readily available to women in this country since the early '60s. It's always been a choice unless medically indicated for other reasons. The government is not empowered by the Constitution to force any entity, private or public, to engage in certain behavior unless the individual state or Supreme Court has decided it should. Birth control is not a right either as some people have stated and should not be used as a tool to socialize us all into “being equal.”
Tina WeinborgBartlett, Tenn.
Please know that the Catholic Health Association does not speak for the Roman Catholic Church. It is an organization marginalized by its controversial views many times at odds with the Catholic Church. It garners much media attention precisely because of that, and that attention is not commensurate with its importance. Essentially, its opinion does not matter.
Mary MeyersLittleton, Colo.
Regarding “CMS will re-examine ICD-10 timeline, Tavenner says,” Modern Healthcare.com, Feb. 14: A delay in implementation of ICD-10 will undermine the efforts of those who have already invested heavily in preparing for ICD-10 implementation in October 2013. Many members of the American Medical Association will still not be ready regardless of what date the CMS determines to be appropriate. I realize that Version 5010 has been challenging for physicians, but the definitive date of implementation for 5010 complemented by a three-month grace period gave stability to the planning and implementation processes of that change. A definitive timeframe is an important component of the change process. It provides the impetus in healthcare planning for reducing costs, improving quality and maintaining some sense of stability.
Roland DaleHardin Medical CenterSavannah, Tenn.
A short postponement would be great to allow time for thorough preparation. A lengthy delay would likely put preparations on hold and risk the same panic as today once a new firm date is set.
Bill SpoonerChief information officerSharp HealthCareSan Diego
Obviously, many have speculated that ICD-10 implementation would be postponed. I feel that it has been put off long enough and now it is time to stick to the timelines. Our country is so far behind the times when it comes to medical coding and medical care—not to mention many other fields. While other countries fly past us, we sit here using the same outdated methods year after year. They need to stop talking, stop procrastinating and start doing something.
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