Trump administration moves to loosen birth control mandate in health insurance | Arkansas Blog

Friday, October 6, 2017

Trump administration moves to loosen birth control mandate in health insurance

Posted By on Fri, Oct 6, 2017 at 11:13 AM

Hundreds of thousands of women are potential victims of the latest Trump administration reversal of advances of the Obama years:

It will provide more leeway for private companies to refuse to offer birth control coverage in health insurance plans by citing religious or moral objections.

Over 55 million US women have birth control coverage with zero out-of-pocket costs, according to the National Women's Law Center. The mandate saved women an estimated $1.4 billion on birth control pills alone in 2013, according to the center.

"There is no way to know how many women will be affected," said Alina Salganicoff, director of women's health policy at the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonprofit that focuses on health policy research and communications.
A Freedom From Religion statement summarizes the situation and mentions a likely lawsuit:

The Freedom From Religion Foundation condemns President Trump’s executive orders today that virtually overturn Obamacare’s contraceptive mandate by exempting any employer with a religious or “moral” objection from covering contraception.

Under the new rules, which take effect immediately, any employer, including publicly traded companies and even universities, can claim a religious objection to providing birth control to employees. The Trump administration claims the twin executive orders “protect religious liberty.”

This is religious liberty run amok, contends FFRF. Religious liberty does not mean the freedom to force your dogma upon unwilling employees who themselves do not share these scruples.

“As it has for millennia, religion is being used to oppress women,” notes FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor. “Employers have no business sticking their noses into intimate health decisions by women workers. It’s outrageous.”

The contraceptive mandate has given more than 55 million women access to birth control without additional co-payments. Under these new regulations, hundreds of thousands will lose that coverage.

One executive order exempts an employer or insurer from covering contraceptive services “based on its sincerely held religious beliefs.” The other exempts employees with “moral convictions” from covering contraception.

“It’s a legal fiction — frankly absurd — that a company can have a religious belief,” says FFRF Co-President Dan Barker.

This expands the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision, which held that “closely-held secular corporations” could possess religious beliefs exempting them from the mandate. FFRF has been raising the alarm about the perversion of the concept of religious liberty as the right to deny others rights based on your beliefs. FFRF’s brief, written by Marcy Hamilton, in the Hobby Lobby case was distinguished among the 88 briefs filed, because it convincingly argued against the constitutionality of the the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, the federal law cited by the court.

FFRF has warned about the problems with that decision itself. One of the problems it creates is the encouragement of a “new race to the bottom.” By allowing companies to exempt themselves from regulation by claiming a religious belief, the decision (and now these rules) emboldens companies to adopt religious beliefs to gain a competitive edge and be exempted from federal laws.

Trump’s order is a starting pistol signaling the beginning of this race to the bottom.

FFRF is pleased the National Women’s Law Center is ready to sue over Trump’s executive orders and will do what it can to support that vital challenge.

Tags: ,

From the ArkTimes store

Favorite

Comments (16)

Showing 1-16 of 16

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-16 of 16

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

Readers also liked…

  • Kenneth Starr: A comment from Betsey Wright

    Betsey Wright, former President Bill Clinton's chief of staff when he was Arkansas governor, responds bitterly to a New York Times article today quoting Whitewater Prosecutor Kenneth Starr's warm words about Clinton. She can't forget the lives Starr ruined in Arkansas.
    • May 24, 2016
  • Antwan Phillips wants to make a difference in reducing Little Rock violence

    KARK/Fox 16's push to do something about Little Rock violence includes a spotlight on people trying to make a difference — in this episode Antwan Phillips, a lawyer at Wright, Lindsey and Jennings.
    • Aug 30, 2017
  • Civil War over in Fort Smith; lawyer strikes his Rebel mascot battle tent

    KSFM reports that Joey McCutchen, the lawyer who's been trying to restart the Civil War in Fort Smith over the School Board's decision to drop the Rebel mascot and related trappingsfor Southside High School, is dropping his School Board takeover campaign.
    • May 27, 2016

Most Shared

  • Industrial hemp pilot program coming soon to Arkansas

    One of the booths at this week's Ark-La-Tex Medical Cannabis Expo was hosted by the Arkansas Hemp Association, a trade group founded to promote and expand non-intoxicating industrial hemp as an agricultural crop in the state. AHA Vice President Jeremy Fisher said the first licenses to grow experimental plots of hemp in the state should be issued by the Arkansas State Plant Board next spring.

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Doug Jones defeats Roy Moore in Alabama Senate race

    • Today, a majority of Alabama voters said NO to Judge Roy Moore. That majority of…

    • on December 12, 2017
  • Re: The Medicaid charade explained

    • Hello Am Mr Paul Moritz, Legitimate and reliable loan lender. I give out loans on…

    • on December 12, 2017
  • Re: Open line

    • "A president who'd all but call a senator a whore is unfit to clean toilets…

    • on December 12, 2017

Blogroll

 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation