Trump Seeks to Significantly Roll Back Birth Control Mandate

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Birth Control Mandate
The Trump administration wants to let any employer opt out of paying for employees’ birth control under Obamacare, according to a leaked proposed regulation.The proposal, if enacted, would significantly roll back Obamacare’s birth control mandate that forces insurance plans to fully cover birth control. The change would mean employers with a religious or moral objection to birth control can be exempt from having to cover it in their health plans at no cost to employees.The draft, dated May 23, would be a major change from the current compromise set up under the Obama administration.

The administration already allows religious organizations, such as churches, from paying for birth control. But the Obama White House set up a compromise accommodation for religious nonprofits such as universities and charities.

The employees at such organizations would still get birth control, but the government would pay for it and not the employer.

If the proposed rule were enacted, any organization with a religious or moral objection to birth control would be fully exempt from the mandate.

The proposed rule says that any closely held or not closely held for-profit company can get the exemption, a stark change from the prior rule.

The Obama administration’s rule gave only closely held for-profit companies, which have a limited number of shareholders, the option of doing an accommodation if they had an objection to birth control.

But the Trump administration argues in the leaked rule that the government’s interest in ensuring employees of religious nonprofits receive birth control is “less significant than previously stated.”

The regulation also allows plans to not offer birth control coverage to individuals who do not want it due to religious or moral objections.

“This individual exemption can apply with respect to individuals in plans sponsored by either private employers or governmental employers,” said the draft, obtained by Vox.

The administration believes that the new rule would lead to more healthcare coverage “because it will reduce the incidence of certain individuals having health coverage to which they have a religious or moral objection, which could otherwise act as an obstacle to coverage.”

The administration added that it keeps in place the earlier accommodation that has the government pay for birth control and not the employer.

The original healthcare law sought to force all insurers to cover birth control as a way to create parity in health insurance costs between women and men, as women had to pay more for healthcare.

The administration let churches be fully exempt from the mandate, but religiously affiliated groups and closely held private companies objected that they had to provide birth control. The administration worked out the accommodation compromise after the Supreme Court upheld a challenge from the private company Hobby Lobby.

The leaked draft could change before the final version, which is being reviewed by the White House’s Office of Budget and Management. Any proposed regulation would also include a comment period.

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