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Republicans Not Giving Up on Birth Control Issue

March 2, 2012 - by Donny Shaw

Despite losing a vote in the Senate yesterday, congressional Republicans are doubling down on their efforts to let employers to pick and choose which health services are covered by their insurance plans under the new health care law.

TPM:

“This fight is not over,” said Senate GOP Conference Vice Chair Roy Blunt (R-MO), the author of the amendment that was tabled 51-48 on Thursday. “I will continue to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle and in both chambers of Congress to protect the rights that make our nation great.”

Though many Republicans would like to give the issue a rest, fearing voter backlash, the GOP can’t easily soft-peddle in this culture war conflagrataion. And that was clear today on both sides of the Capitol.

“I think it’s important for us to win this issue,” House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) told reporters Thursday, echoing the party line that the Obama administration’s requirement that most employer health plans include contraceptive coverage violates religious liberty.

Under the new health care law, employers would be required to offer insurance plans that meet certain minimum standards for covered benefits. What the Republicans are proposing is to allow employers to declare that certain health services are contrary to their “moral convictions” and offer insurance plans that do not cover them. The most commonly discussed case is that of Catholic employers being required to offer birth control coverage, but the Republicans proposal would apply more broadly. It would effectively roll back the responsibility of employers under the new health care law to provide their employees a basic level of health coverage and give them a mechanism to offer lesser coverage while avoiding the penalties they would face under the health care law as passed by Congress. 

Here’s the key operative provision of the amendment the Republicans are pushing:

(6) RESPECTING RIGHTS OF CONSCIENCE WITH REGARD TO SPECIFIC ITEMS OR SERVICES.—

(A) FOR HEALTH PLANS.—A health plan shall not be considered to have failed to provide the essential health benefits package described in subsection (a) (or preventive health services described in section 2713 of the Public Health Service Act), to fail to be a qualified health plan, or to fail to fulfill any other requirement under this title on the basis that it declines to provide coverage of specific items or services because—

(i) providing coverage (or, in the case of a sponsor of a group health plan, paying for coverage) of such specific items or services is contrary to the religious beliefs or moral convictions of the sponsor, issuer, or other entity offering the plan; or

(ii) such coverage (in the case of individual coverage) is contrary to the religious beliefs or moral convictions of the purchaser or beneficiary of the coverage.

For your reference, the section of the health care law this would be amending can be read here.

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Comments

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  • jlohman 03/03/2012 8:15am

    Of course. Anything to divert attention from the real problem, political corruption.

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    ImAWAKE 04/23/2012 2:40am

    I agree everything they tell us is to keep our minds pre occupied on issues that have nothing to do with anything, Same with the Corporate influenced News stations, But it is also Not the Governments responsibility to tell Us the United states citizen what we can and can’t do with our bodies, what we can and can Not put into our bodies.
    KB

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  • KarDM 03/12/2012 6:11pm

    Personally, I’m glad their pursuing it. Even if you don’t have a problem with the state paying for birth control, anytime the rights of conscience of private organizations are ignored (ie the right of individuals—not the state—to refrain from paying for or offering services that go against their convictions), that’s a threat to all of our Constitutional liberties. They may not be stepping on your rights and convictions now, but letting things like this go will certainly pave the way.

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  • SNewville 03/21/2012 2:06pm

    I don’t believe that companies are people, so companies should have no “moral beliefs”. And how is this limited to birth control? What if I’m a business owner who is a Jehovah’s Witness and I don’t believe in blood transfusions? Can I then refuse to cover those in my insurance plan, even though it’s within the moral beliefs of the employee who needs the blood transfusion? This is just another way that other people’s morals and beliefs are being forced upon the rest of us.

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  • richarddelta 03/27/2012 12:36am

    Honestly let’s start supporting Science not religion. Religion is fake or stupid might be a better word for it.

    I hate the fact he said, “violates religious liberty”. Seriously? This is so dumb. Let’s get with the programs guys.

  • Spiralxs 04/04/2012 1:50pm

    Still a lot of discussion required on this issue, Its not just about birth control, its also include “violates religious liberty”. Software Application Development

  • Spiralxs 04/04/2012 1:51pm

    Still a lot of discussion required on this issue, Software Application Development.Its not just about birth control, its also include “violates religious liberty”.

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  • Y0yOy0 05/06/2012 7:52am

    That is a really serious issue. Personally I stand behind science and not religion. airbrush makeup

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  • opencongress80 03/13/2013 12:45am

    Any employer who refuses to offer such health care coverage will likely have a harder time attracting new employees, because they’ll all be taking jobs with companies that do offer them. As the owner of a trademark attorney law office, I know that most employers don’t offer these benefits out of kindness; they offer them as part of a total compensation package designed to entice the employee to work there. If you offer fewer coverage benefits, you’ll have a harder time attracting good workers.

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