In October 2017, the Trump administration attempted to change certain laws that apply to contraception coverage for employees. These actions, headed by the Justice Department and the Department of Health and Human Services, would allow employers to deny these insurance benefits if contraception went against their religion or morals. Trump claimed that forcing these employers to provide contraception coverage was akin to targeting them for their beliefs.
Two months later, a federal court blocked Trump’s actions. In Philadelphia Federal District Court, Judge Wendy Beetlestone stated that the rules went directly against the Affordable Care Act (ACA). She added that they would be very harmful to the many women that would lose this insurance coverage. A second federal judge in California also blocked the rules.
The exemptions do not require companies to inform the government of their actions. The administration stated that allowing the employers to deny this coverage protects their consciences from going against their religions. Birth control, sterilization, and abortifacients may violate certain religious beliefs. Protestors believe that disallowing this coverage would be discriminatory toward women.
The Contraceptive Coverage Mandate
In 2010, unplanned pregnancies cost the government around $21 billion, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) The ACA’s contraceptive coverage mandate was introduced in 2012, under the Obama Administration. It was based on the belief that all women are entitled to coverage for all types of contraceptive methods. It made coverage more affordable for women; the percentage of unintended pregnancies has decreased significantly since it passed.
Employers were required to provide the coverage, even if they objected, based on their religion. Trump’s plan would put the employers’ interests first, and many women might lose the benefits. The regulations are being challenged in eight states, and so far, the rules have been blocked.
Physician Groups Speak Out
In early November, the Departments of Health and Human Services, Treasury, and Labor released the final version of the new rules. Soon after, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American College of Physicians, the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), the American Psychiatric Association, and the American Academy of Pediatrics made their voices heard. In a blanket statement, they emphasized that the rules would tarnish patient-doctor relationships and prevent Americans from accessing care.
The strong statement demands that the rules be withdrawn, pointing out that they would have negative effects on health services. The AAFP President stated that if passed, the laws would harm millions of women and their families by denying coverage and allowing others to influence their health care options.
The physician organizations also feel that the rules could set a new precedent and allow companies to deny additional coverages based on moral or personal objections. This could include other doctor-recommended services like immunizations.
Philadelphia Health Care Lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. Help Physicians with Contraceptive Coverage Issues
Although the Contraceptive Coverage Mandate is being challenged, it is still in effect. If you are unaware of the laws and their ramifications, we can help. Contact the knowledgeable Philadelphia health care lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. for expert legal guidance in all health care matters. Call us at 215-569-1999 or fill out an online form. Located in Philadelphia, we represent physicians and clients in Bucks County, Chester County, Delaware County, and Montgomery County.