MENU
Home | News | World |
Young boy pleads to be left alone by bullies in video
It Always Pays To Do Good To Strangers No Matter What

Trump dramatically rolls back Obamacare free contraception

  • New rules issued Friday allow many more organizations than before to opt out of providing free contraception to employees on religious or moral grounds
  • Religious exemption previously applied to houses of worship, religiously affiliated nonprofit groups, and closely-held private companies
  • All for-profit companies will now be able to seek an exemption
  • Measure was promised by Trump after long-running controversy over nuns who took battle not to provide contraception to employees to federal court 
  • The roll-back to part of Obamacare will be challenged in court by birth control advocates

By Associated Press

Published: 11:24 EDT, 6 October 2017 | Updated: 12:08 EDT, 6 October 2017

  • e-mail

7

View
comments

President Donald Trump is allowing more employers to opt out of providing no-cost birth control to women by claiming religious or moral objections, issuing new rules Friday that take another step in rolling back the Obama health care law.

The new policy is a long-expected revision to federal rules that require most companies to cover birth control as preventive care for women, at no additional cost. 

Preventive services are supposed to be free of charge to employees and their dependents under former President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act.

Trump's religious and moral exemption is expected to galvanize both his opponents and religious conservatives that back him, but it's likely to have a limited impact on America's largely secular workplaces. 

Controversial move:  Birth control advocates say they will challenge the move by the president in court
Controversial move:  Birth control advocates say they will challenge the move by the president in court

Controversial move:  Birth control advocates say they will challenge the move by the president in court

Mandate: Obama made free contraception in employee insurance schemes part of the healthcare legislation seen as his key legacy
Mandate: Obama made free contraception in employee insurance schemes part of the healthcare legislation seen as his key legacy

Mandate: Obama made free contraception in employee insurance schemes part of the healthcare legislation seen as his key legacy

Most women no longer pay for birth control, and advocates immediately announced plans to try to block the new rule in court.

Although tens of thousands of women could be affected by Trump's new policy, the vast majority of companies have no qualms about offering birth control benefits through their health plans. 

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.

The administration estimated that some 200 employers who have already voiced objections to the Obama-era policy would qualify for the expanded opt-out, and that 120,000 women would be affected. 

However, it's unclear how major religious-affiliated employers such as Catholic hospitals and universities will respond.

Since contraception became a covered preventive benefit, the share of women employees paying their own money for birth control pills has plunged to under 4 percent, from 21 percent, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

The Trump administration's revision broadens a religious exemption that previously applied to houses of worship, religiously affiliated nonprofit groups, and closely-held private companies. 

Administration officials said the new policy defends religious freedom. Privately owned for-profit companies, as well as publicly-traded for-profit companies will be able to seek an exemption.

Officials also said the administration is tightening oversight of how plans sold under the health law cover abortion. 

Previous protests: The challenge brought to the contraception mandate by a group of Catholic nuns prompted demonstrations outside the Supreme Court 
Previous protests: The challenge brought to the contraception mandate by a group of Catholic nuns prompted demonstrations outside the Supreme Court 

Previous protests: The challenge brought to the contraception mandate by a group of Catholic nuns prompted demonstrations outside the Supreme Court 

With limited exceptions, abortions can only be paid for through a separate premium collected from enrollees. 

No public subsidies can be used, except in cases that involve rape, incest, or preserving the life of the mother.

Doctors' groups that were key to derailing Republican plans to repeal the health law outright expressed dismay over the administration's move on birth control.

The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists said the new policy could reverse the recent progress in lowering the nation's rate of unintended pregnancies.

'Instead of fulfilling its mission 'to enhance and protect the health and well-being of all Americans,' HHS leaders under the current administration are focused on turning back the clock on women's health,' said the organization's president, Dr. Haywood Brown.

Women's groups said they would try to stop the administration from carrying out the changes.

'The rules give employers a license to discriminate against women,' said Fatima Goss Graves, president of the National Women's Law Center. 'We will take immediate legal steps to block these unfair and discriminatory rules.'

Administration officials said the new policy takes effect right away.

Most watched News videos

MOST READ NEWS

Related Posts