Weekend Edition Sunday

Conceived as a cross between a Sunday newspaper and CBS' Sunday Morning with Charles KuraltWeekend Edition Sunday features interviews with newsmakers, artists, scientists, politicians, musicians, writers, theologians and historians. The program has covered news events from Nelson Mandela's 1990 release from a South African prison to the capture of Saddam Hussein.

Weekend Edition Sunday debuted on January 18, 1987, with host Susan Stamberg. Two years later, Liane Hansen took over the host chair, a position she held for 22 years. In that time, Hansen interviewed movers and shakers in politics, science, business and the arts. Her reporting travels took her from the slums of Cairo to the iron mines of Michigan's Upper Peninsula; from the oyster beds on the bayou in Houma, La., to Old Faithful in Yellowstone National Park; and from the kitchens of Colonial Williamsburg, Va., to the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated. In the fall of 2011, NPR National Desk Reporter Audie Cornish began hosting the show.

Every week listeners tune in to hear a unique blend of news, features and the regularly scheduled puzzle segment with Puzzlemaster Will Shortz, the crossword puzzle editor of The New York Times.

Weekend Edition Sunday is heard on NPR Member stations across the United States and around the globe via NPR Worldwide. The conversation between the audience and the program staff continues throughout the social media world.

NPR's Wade Goodwyn talks to retired Air Force Gen. David Deptula and author Richard Whittle about Whittle's new book, Predator: The Secret Origins of the Drone Revolution.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Catholic universities and hospitals argue they shouldn't have to offer contraceptive coverage, but many Catholic insurance companies have been making it available for years.

The Affordable Care Act requires that most health plans offer birth control to women.

Around the country, Catholic employers have been arguing in court that having anything to do with insurance coverage of contraceptives violates their freedom of religion.

But when the insurance companies themselves are Catholic, contraceptive coverage comes without a hitch.

Several Catholic insurance companies have been quietly arranging for contraceptive coverage for many years, often making it available to their policyholders through third-party providers, according to Julie Rovner of Kaiser Health News, a partner of NPR.

"For example, the second-most popular insurance plan on New York's health exchange this year is a Catholic plan called Fidelis," she told NPR's Wade Goodwyn. "It doesn't provide contraceptive coverage directly, but it has arranged coverage through an outside provider in Michigan."

The number of Catholic insurance companies is expected to grow as many Catholic hospital systems start their own plans, Rovner says, so she went on to explain the contradiction.


Interview Highlights

What Catholic universities and hospitals argue

You might remember that purely religious employers — churches or places where everyone is of the same religion — they're exempt from the requirement that their insurance cover most birth control without any additional cost to the woman. But the administration has made several attempts to help religious organizations that hire people of all faiths to arrange coverage from sort of an arm's-length distance.

These are mostly hospitals and universities. They've claimed that even filing a form to the government saying they object to offering such coverage makes them "complicit in the sin of artificial birth control."

Why Catholic insurance plans don't raise the same objections

Both the insurers and the hospitals and universities say they're interpreting a document that lays out the rules for Catholic health care. But the insurers, at least if they want to sell to the public, in more than half the states are required to offer contraceptive coverage. And those laws long predated the Affordable Care Act or the fights over it now.

Why it's OK for the insurance companies to arrange for coverage, but not OK for the hospitals and universities

That's the big question. I think a lot of this was kind of going on under the radar. A lot of Catholic hospitals and universities were also providing contraceptive coverage as part of their health insurance until this whole issue blew up in 2011, and now at least one bishop is wondering whether what the insurers are doing is OK or not.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

As the MLB enters the home stretch, four divisions have winners. In NCAA football, Slate.com's Mike Pesca tells NPR's Wade Goodwyn that Florida looks good in spite of Jameis Winston's suspension.

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