Trump administration rolls back ObamaCare contraceptive mandate

Trump directed Seema Varma, the head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid to deny Iowa's request for a Section 1332 waiver

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.

The Act required employer-provided health insurance policies to include coverage for preventative care, including birth control using all contraceptive methods approved by the federal Food and Drug Administration.

The new policy, which takes effect immediately, says that any employer or insurer can ignore the birth control mandate on moral and religious grounds.

Becerra said he several other attorneys general are considering filing a lawsuit against the Trump administration to have the rule tossed. The Obama administration's push for the law resulted in an avalanche of lawsuits filed against the action by right-wing and religious organizations.

The changes "will not affect over 99.9 percent of the 165 million women in the United States", the HHS statement said.

"It improves the health of women, children and families as well as communities overall; reduces maternal mortality; and enhances economic stability for women and their families".

The share of women employees paying for birth control pills has plunged to under 4 percent, from 21 percent, since contraception became a covered preventive health benefit, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Non-profit groups and for-profit businesses that are not publicly-traded can also apply for an exemption to the mandate based on moral, but not religious, objections to it.

US Senate Intelligence Panel Leaders to Release Interim Report on Russia Probe
He said that the requirements would be the "lightest touch possible, and similar to rules the rest of the media already have". But content of the 3,000 Facebook adverts linked to Russian Federation will not be publicly released.

National pro-life group Susan B. Anthony List President Marjoria Dannenfelser said, "Today President Trump delivered a huge victory for conscience rights and religious liberty in America".

The new interim final rules - one regarding religious objections to birth control and the other, moral qualms - seek to end years of legal wrangling, which pitted the federal government against religious business owners, faith-based schools and charities, Catholic nuns and a number of other conscientious objectors to contraception.

The Supreme Court earlier had held in the Hobby Lobby case that closely held corporations could hold religious beliefs that exempted them from the mandate.

"The Trump administration is saying to employers, 'If you want to discriminate, we have your back, '" said Fatima Goss Graves, president of National Women's Law Center.

Friday's announcement follows an executive order in May vowing to "protect and vigorously promote religious liberty".

"With the stroke of a pen, the Trump administration has shamelessly attempted to rip away the rights of untold numbers of women to receive essential healthcare, under the warped facade of 'religious freedom, '" SEIU-UHW president Dave Regan said.

In one of the new rules, the Trump administration says that exemptions should be available to "nonreligious nonprofit organizations" like March for Life, which holds an annual march opposing abortion. "The private medical decisions made by an employee are not the business of their employer", the group said. 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. It allowed millions of uninsured people to get health insurance.

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