Last week, President Obama announced that he would continue to protect women’s access to birth control without co-pays or deductibles regardless of where they work, including at certain religiously-affiliated employers, while accommodating religious institutions’ opposition to contraception. Under a compromise announced Feb. 10, religious institutions that object to providing such coverage will not have to offer it. However, the institution’s insurer will have to reach out directly to the employees and offer the coverage free of charge. The end result is that no religious organization will have to pay for or provide contraceptive services, but women who work at these institution will have access to contraceptive services directly from their contracted insurance company. This looks like a reasonable solution to try for now, but……
Despite this accommodation, opponents of birth control in Congress have introduced the Blunt Amendment which would, among other things, allow any corporation whose CEO opposes contraception based on his “moral convictions” to deny all coverage of contraception or any other health care service to the company’s employees. The big question: Will this amendment, if passed, eventually lead to allowing CEOs of ANY corporation (not just a religiously affiliated one), cancel contraception from his/her company plan because of moral convictions????
Call 1-888-838-5169 TODAY to tell your Senators what YOU think about the Blunt Amendment and its impact on access to no-cost birth control and other critical health care services. Also, check out our previous blog on this topic
For readers who want to examine the text of Blunt’s proposed amendment, here are two key sections:
“Nothing in this title (or any amendment made by this title) shall be construed to require an individual or institutional health care provider, or authorize a health plan to require a provider, to provide, participate in, or refer for a specific item or service contrary to the provider’s religious beliefs or moral convictions. Notwithstanding any other provision of this title, a health plan shall not be considered to have failed to provide timely or other access to items or services under this title (or any amendment made by this title) or to fulfill any other requirement under this title because it has respected the rights of conscience of such a provider.”
Another part of the amendment makes clear that “no exchange or other official or entity acting in a governmental capacity in the course of implementing this title … shall discriminate against a health plan, plan sponsor, health care provider, or other person because of such plan’s, sponsor’s, provider’s, or person’s unwillingness to provide coverage of, participate in, or refer for, specific items or services.”