Bye-Bye Contraception Obamacare Mandate

A protester is detained and escorted out by U.S. Capitol Police during the Senate Finance Committee hearing on the last-ditch GOP push to overhaul the nation's health care system
Trump Administration Poised to Roll Back Federal Birth Control Coverage Mandate
Author

07 October, 2017

The administration's new contraception exemptions "are another example of the Trump administration trampling on people's rights, but in this case only women", Becerra told Reuters. It takes effect immediately.

It is not now known how much the final rule will vary from the draft.

"I think what the Trump administration is trying to do is effectively gut the rule without repealing it, because repealing it would be so unpopular", said Gretchen Borchelt, vice president for reproductive rights and health at the National Women's Law Center.

One of the most controversial - and one of the most welcomed - requirements of the 2010 Affordable Care Act was a requirement for health insurance plans to provide birth control coverage free of charge to patients. Some other benefits include breastfeeding support, counseling for domestic violence and HPV testing.

In a statement, Catherine Glenn Foster, president and CEO of Americans United for Life, said her organization "applauds the actions of the Department of Health and Human Services to ensure that the right of conscientious employers and employees not to participate in or provide abortion-causing drugs is protected in law".

The Center for Reproductive Rights is now considering all legal action to ensure women can get the health care they need, free from discrimination.

"Under the Obama administration, agencies lost the understanding that religious freedoms extend to the public square, not just one's place of worship". They also said some employers not associated with religious movements will use the move to justify declining to cover birth control because of unspecified moral objections. Human resource managers recognize that employers get an economic benefit from helping women space out their pregnancies, since female workers are central to most enterprises. Religious groups not directly affiliated with churches, required to file a 990 tax form due to their nonprofit status, did not meet the religious exemption.

The Obama administration carried out a "relentless assault on the First Amendment" and promoted "anti-faith policies", said Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Center, a social conservative think tank.

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One memo instructs Justice Department employees to incorporate its legal arguments on religious freedom into litigation strategies and how they review rules.

"We believe that people with honest religious beliefs should be able to use an exemption", said Lori Windham, an attorney with the group.

The rule is the result of multiple challenges to the Obamacare demand that employers provide contraceptives to their employees which were brought by religious organizations ranging from Christian colleges to the most prominent of the cases, involving the Little Sisters of the Poor. Employers could cite any religious or moral reason.

"Upon further examination of the relevant provisions of the Affordable Care Act and the administrative record on which the mandate was based, the departments have concluded that the application of the mandate to entities with sincerely held religious objections to it does not serve a compelling government interest", officials write.

The ACA now requires health insurance plans to cover at least one method from of 18 approved categories of contraception with no co-payment.

"The Trump administration is forcing women to pay for their boss's religious beliefs", said ACLU senior staff attorney Brigitte Amiri in a statement. The nuns had sued the Obama administration over the birth control requirement.

That means they'll find themselves paying out of pocket.


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