Contraception Standoff: White House v. Catholic Church
It is hard to imagine a more decisive issue that has erupted across the nation, putting contraception, religion and politics at the forefront of this election year.
In August 2011, the White House issued an interim final rule which required health insurers to cover a wide range of preventive services for women, including:
- Well-woman visits;
- Gestational diabetes screening;
- Contraception; and
- Breastfeeding counseling and supplies.
The health plans were required to cover the services without any cost-sharing, deductibles or co-pays.
Since August, the White House and President Obama have been under tremendous scrutiny from religious organizations, especially the Catholic Church and other non-profit employers who would be required to cover the contraceptive services, despite deep religious views opposing such usage.
However, the White House announced last week that they would compromise and exempt churches, other houses of worship and similar organizations from subsidizing, providing, paying for or referring to contraception usage or services based on religious objection, instead shifting the responsibility directly to the employers' insurance providers. The services would be required to be offered free of charge to the insured.
It is unclear what the impact will be on health insurance premiums, as the White House predicts the coverage will be budget neutral, however it is hard to predict at this time.
This article is provided for informational purposes only. Nothing in this article shall be construed as legal advice or should be relied upon as such. Michael LaMagna is a partner at Timins & LaMagna, LLP, practicing Health Care Regulatory, Elder /disability/veteran's law, trusts and estates, Social Security and general legal practice in both New York and Connecticut. Michael was just appointed to the ACO Task Force of the American Health Lawyers Association. Email him at Mlamagna@nyandctlaw.com, call him at 914-819-0663 or visit Attorney LaMagna's website at www.nyandctlaw.com for more information.