Posted by 31 October 2018
For the past six years, there have been legal and regulatory fights over the Affordable Care Act’s contraception mandate. With the Trump Administration getting set to announce new rules on the mandate, it appears these fights will continue for years to come.
The ACA, or Obamacare, mandated that employers provide contraception coverage as part of their health insurance benefit at no charge to their employees. The Obama Administration wrote rules that required employers to offer coverage for all contraceptives approved by the Food and Drug Administration. This has led to ongoing lawsuits over the constitutionality of the mandate. The Supreme Court has ruled in one case that some corporations can be exempt from the mandate on religious grounds.
In response to another court cases, both the Obama and Trump Administrations have been devising regulations that would allow certain religious-based nonprofits to claim an exemption from the mandate. Several states challenged the Trump Administration’s 2017 rules that would have given a broad religious exemption from the mandate and a federal court struck them down.
The Trump Administration is preparing new rules that will attempt to survive a legal challenge. Observers expect them to give wide leeway to groups that do not want to provide coverage of contraceptive services that violate their religious beliefs.
Opponents of an expansive exemption to the contraception mandate say that the religious beliefs of employers should not dictate what types of health care that employees receive. They argue that contraception decisions are between a patient and a doctor, so an employer should have no say over it.
Those who favor a broad exception to the mandate say that it is unconstitutional for the federal government to force people to pay for contraceptive services that they view as immoral. They point out that this contraception would not be banned, and that employees could purchase it on their own.
It is unclear when the Trump Administration will announce these new contraceptive mandate rules. When it does, there will likely be lawsuits challenging them.
Do you think that religious nonprofits should be forced to offer contraceptive coverage even if such contraception violates the religious beliefs of those who operate the organization?