On Friday, the White House administration, in an attempt to defuse one of its healthcare law’s most contentious issues, proposed another way to shield organizations that are religiously affiliated, such as universities and hospitals, from needing to provide direct contraceptive coverage to employees.
The new proposal would allow employees to obtain coverage from a separate insurance policy at no additional cost. The new rule also reaffirms that religious houses of worship are exempt from Obama’s healthcare contraceptive mandate. It also makes it easier for other institutions to prove they qualify for the exemption.
Businesses that are for-profit and have over 50 employees still will have to provide health insurance coverage that must include contraceptive benefits, even though the employer might have moral objections to the benefits.
The efforts by the Obama administration to balance the support of public health advocates with the objections of religious organizations to contraception, for greater access to services such as contraception has been one of the administration’s most delicate tasks in implementing the new law.
The new law requires that health care plans cover a number of different preventive services that do not have cost sharing for the patient. Those services include physicals and cancer screenings. In addition, there are contraceptives for females that are approved by the FDA, including emergency pills for contraception.
Controversy has been generated by this from almost the moment it was signed into legislation by the president back in 2010. The mandate over contraception is at the center of a number of lawsuits that challenge the law for impeding freedom of religion. Judges on this issue have been split in their legal opinions.