New rules expand list of employers that can deny coverage for contraceptives

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The Trump administration is expected to release new regulations Friday relaxing an Obama-era requirement that almost all employers offer health insurance that covers a wide array of contraceptive methods. "All Americans deserve the ability to make personal health care decisions without intrusion from their employers or the government".

That specific group, whose members dedicate their lives to living with and caring for the poorest of the elderly, was faced with fines of $75 million annually for following their Christian faith, and not paying for workers' contraceptives, including abortifacients.

The New York Times on Thursday night had reported on a leaked draft of the administration's new rules, which address an Affordable Care Act mandate requiring employers to include contraception coverage with no out-of-pocket costs to employees in insurance plans.

Policy experts, however, argue that this could open the door to hundreds of employers dropping coverage.

Rienzi explained this is actually about the ninth or 10th version of the rule regarding the issue the Obama administration used for an "unnecessary and divisive culture war". "We are preparing to see the government in court", said Brigitte Amiri, a senior attorney for the ACLU. At the time of the call, it was unclear how the administration arrived at this data point. "What they did was add a real and true religious exemption...that's important when people are thinking and talking about the impact of this rule on the availability of contraceptives, because virtually everybody that is already receiving contraceptives from their employer under this mandate will keep receiving".

By contrast, many doctors, including obstetricians and gynecologists, say contraceptives have generally been a boon to women's health. The new rule, he said, provides "relief to those who have been under the thumb of the federal government". "If you look at it as a public health issue, it is a step in the wrong direction, and it weakens the protections of the ACA", he said.

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Democrats are calling the administration's decision, which would restrict access to birth control, an attempt to sabotage the Affordable Care Act and an undermining of women's health.

As The Washington Post noted, "In addition to trying to cut funding for the ACA, the Trump administration also is hampering state efforts to control premiums". Birth control is generally quite low-priced; the Pill's average cost is between $20 and $50 a month without insurance coverage. That workaround can continue under the new rules.

More than 20 percent of United States women of childbearing age had to pay money out of pocket for oral contraceptives prior to the Obamacare mandate, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Dr. Anne Davis, Consulting Medical Director of Physicians for Reproductive Health, strongly condemned the rules in a statement shared with POPSUGAR. "This will now make it up to the employer whether or not to cover contraception, and whether to cover all methods". Real Alternatives lost a suit against the mandate at the Third Circuit Court in August, which ruled that their pro-life mission did not merit a religious exemption from the mandate. Administration officials said the new policy defends religious freedom.

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

"Women shouldn't be denied access to basic health care based on their employers' religious beliefs", she says.

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