Amid much Christian angst over Obama administration regulations requiring health insurance coverage for sterilization and contraceptives – including some that cause abortion – two prominent Catholic organizations, the University of Notre Dame and the Catholic Health Association, have proposed a compromise.

It’s a plan that could leave many religious organizations out in the cold.

A broad coalition has been fighting the narrow “religious exemption” provided in the federal insurance mandate issued last summer by Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. Among those are many religious organizations, including the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the National Association of Evangelicals, the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations and the Association of Christian Schools International.

The heart of the issue is that under the regulations, HHS has discretion to exempt churches and religious communities from the mandate but will do so only so long as they hire and serve “primarily” people of the same faith.

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