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Johanns, Hatch Spearhead Letter to HHS on Womens Preventive Services Mandates

WASHINGTON, Oct. 6 -- The office of Sen. Mike Johanns, R-Neb., issued the following news release:

U.S. Senators Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Mike Johanns (R-Nebraska), and 26 of their Senate colleagues have written to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to press her on the constitutional concerns associated with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) implementation of the Institute of Medicine's (IOM) recommendations for preventive health services mandates. The action is a follow-up to a letter Sebelius received in July on this issue in which she failed to sufficiently address the questions asked.

In July, IOM issued a report entitled "Clinical Preventive Services for Women: Closing the Gaps," which recommended which preventive services should be mandated for health insurance plans. These mandates are an affront to the rights to life, religious liberty, and personal conscience.

In the letter, the Senators wrote that they are concerned "with the lack of due consideration given by [Sebelius] and your Department to the adverse impact that IOM's recommendations would have on our core constitutional value of religious liberty." The Senators added that "[t]hough the IFRs' 'religious exemption' purports to protect religious organizations, health care professionals, and health care plans, it is clear that this protection falls well short of securing this constitutional right."

In addition to Sens. Hatch and Johanns, the letter to Secretary Sebelius was signed by Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Florida), Roy Blunt (R-Missouri), Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas), Pat Toomey (R-Pennsylvania), Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin), Dan Coats (R-Indiana), Jim Risch (R-Idaho), Rand Paul (R-Kentucky), Jon Kyl (R-Arizona), Jerry Moran (R-Kansas), John Cornyn (R-Texas), John McCain (R-Arizona), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), John Boozman (R-Arkansas), Tom Coburn (R-Oklahoma), and Kelly Ayotte (R-New Hampshire), David Vitter (R-Louisiana), Pat Roberts (R-Kansas), Johnny Isakson (R-Georgia), John Hoeven (R-North Dakota), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), John Thune (R-South Dakota), Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina), Mike Enzi (R-Wyoming), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), and Jim Inhofe (R-Oklahoma).

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Full text of the letter can be found here. (

TNS MD66 MD66 111007-3619502 61MariaDonald


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