News Worms
News Worms

Trump administration relaxes requirement that employers provide birth control in workers' insurance

Trump administration relaxes requirement that employers provide birth control in workers' insurance

The New York Times reported on Thursday that the Trump administration is planning to announce an extreme easing of the federal mandate that requires health insurance plans offered by employers to include birth control coverage. Experts said that could interfere with efforts to promote modern long-acting implantable contraceptives, such as IUDs, which are more expensive.

There are so many problems with this - one being that "it is a huge loophole for any employer that does not want to provide birth control coverage to their employees", according to Georgetown University's Center on Health Insurance Reform professor Dania Palanker. The preventive health benefit saved women $1.4 billion on birth control in the first year it went into effect, which has contributed to an all-time low in unintended pregnancy and the lowest USA abortion rate since the procedure became legal in 1973.

The action by the Trump administration is nearly certain to spark fresh litigation.

"Today's decision by the Trump administration puts healthcare decisions in the hands of a woman's employer, which is so demeaning, discriminatory, and unsafe that it's hard to put it into words".

The Justice Department guideline directs attorneys and agencies that freedom of religious extends to both organizations and individuals, and includes living out one's religious beliefs.

Now, employers with religious or moral objections to birth control will have the same exemption that was initially only available to houses of worship. The rollback aims to make it easier for employers to object for moral or religious reasons, a move that could cost hundreds of thousands of women access to free birth control.

The announcement wasn't a surprise, said Janet Varon executive director of Northwest Health Law Advocates. The DOJ guidance offers a different interpretation of the Obamacare birth control mandate under current law. 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. Roman Catholic oppose most methods of birth control and some other religious groups object to certain forms of birth control. The new rule expands that. "Reducing access to contraceptive coverage threatens to reverse the tremendous progress our nation has made in recent years in lowering the unintended pregnancy rate". The "Free to Believe" hotline will help ensure that no federal employee, contractor or citizen will be forced to choose between their faith and equal treatment by the federal government.

Salganicoff said she's concerned about coverage for implantable devices that are more expensive but also much more effective.

"By taking away women's access to no-cost birth control coverage, the rules give employers a license to discriminate against women", Graves added. Ted Cruz, R-Tex., who tweeted "the administration ended a policy that was repugnant to our country's tradition of religious freedom".

According to the Department of Health and Human Services, the action will allow companies and nonprofit groups to exclude coverage for contraception if it has a religious or moral objection.

The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, a legal advocacy group that has fought the contraception mandate in court on behalf of nonprofits, praised Trump's new workaround.

When asked what was different between Thursday and today, the official said, "nothing, as a matter of law". Insurance companies that cover abortion care are required to collect and keep separate funds for the provision of that care.

Doctors' groups that were instrumental in derailing Republican plans to repeal the health law expressed their dismay.

"Contraception is a medical necessity for women during approximately 30 years of their lives", said Dr. Haywood Brown, president of The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.


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