In This Edition:
From Kaiser Health News:
The new rules, announced Friday, will significantly expand the number of employers eligible for exemptions from the requirement that they provide women, at no cost, coverage of any contraception method approved by the FDA. (Mary Agnes Carey and Lexie Verdon, 10/6)
For several million consumers who buy their own insurance but earn too much to qualify for subsidies, the ever-growing price of premiums takes a big toll. (Julie Rovner, 10/9)
Complaints are rising against for-profit insurance companies that manage Medicaid for about 600,000 Iowans. The privatization of Medicaid is a national trend affecting more than half of the 74 million Americans who get their health care through the state-federal program. (Clay Masters, Iowa Public Radio, 10/9)
Many Californians have been using pot for years, legally and illegally. But newbies, even Grandma, might benefit from a website that contains warnings about the risks. (Ana B. Ibarra, 10/9)
Kaiser Health News provides a fresh take on health policy developments with "Political Cartoon: 'Gather No Moss?'" by Jeff Koterba, Omaha World Herald.
Here's today's health policy haiku:
A PLEA TO CONGRESS
And warm the hearts of children
Before winter comes.
If you have a health policy haiku to share, please Contact Us and let us know if you want us to include your name. Keep in mind that we give extra points if you link back to a KHN original story.
Summaries Of The News:
“Contraception is a medical necessity for women during approximately 30 years of their lives,” the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists said. About 200 employers that are involved in suing the government over the requirement to provide contraception coverage would likely take advantage of the rule change, the administration estimated.
The New York Times: Trump Administration Rolls Back Birth Control Mandate
The Trump administration on Friday moved to expand the rights of employers to deny women insurance coverage for contraception and issued sweeping guidance on religious freedom that critics said could also erode civil rights protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. The twin actions, by the Department of Health and Human Services and the Justice Department, were meant to carry out a promise issued by President Trump five months ago, when he declared in the Rose Garden that “we will not allow people of faith to be targeted, bullied or silenced anymore.” (Pear, Ruiz and Goodstein, 10/6)
The Washington Post: Trump Administration Narrows Affordable Care Act’s Contraception Mandate
The rules significantly widen the range of employers and insurers that can invoke religious or moral beliefs to avoid the ACA requirement that birth control pills and other contraceptives be covered by insurance as part of preventive care. Administration officials and their allies on the right downplayed the impact of the change on American women, while women’s rights and civil liberties groups portrayed it as a massive, discriminatory act. (Goldstein, Eilperin and Wan, 10/6)
The Associated Press: Birth Control: Trump Expands Opt-Out For Workplace Insurance
The new policy was a long-anticipated revision to Affordable Care Act requirements that most companies cover birth control as preventive care for women, at no additional cost. That Obama-era requirement applies to all FDA-approved methods, including the morning-after pill, which some religious conservatives call an abortion drug, though scientists say it has no effect on women who are already pregnant. (10/6)
Politico: Trump Rolls Back Obamacare Birth Control Mandate
The new policies, which take effect immediately, reignite a fierce battle over one of the health care law's most controversial provisions and quickly drew legal challenges. The requirement to provide FDA-approved contraception at no cost was long opposed by religious groups that heavily favored Trump, and has been wrapped up in litigation for more than five years. (Ehley, 10/6)
NPR: Trump Weakens Requirement That Work-Based Health Policies Cover Birth Control
"This provides an exemption, and it's a limited one," said Roger Severino, director of the HHS Office of Civil Rights. "We should have space for organizations to live out their religious identity and not face discrimination." He said he expects that most companies will continue to provide coverage for birth control and that the changes will only affect a tiny percentage of U.S. women. The new rules are being published Friday in the Federal Register and go into effect immediately. But some health policy analysts say the new rule creates a huge opening that lets any employer claim an exemption, leaving their female workers to pay the full cost of any birth control out of pocket. (Kodjak, 10/6)
Stat: Obamacare' Birth Control Mandate Rolled Back By Trump Administration
Women’s health advocates said millions of women who had gained access to birth control at no cost would be at risk of losing that coverage. They also said some employers not associated with religious movements will use the move to justify declining to cover birth control because of unspecified moral objections. (Facher, 10/6)
Bloomberg: Trump Religion Rule Curbs Obamacare’s Birth Control Coverage
The American College of Physicians said the rule change will “create substantial barriers to patients receiving appropriate medical care as recommended by their physicians.” The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists said the rules would hurt patients. “Contraception is a medical necessity for women during approximately 30 years of their lives,” the group 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.” (Tracer, Edney and Larson, 10/6)
Kaiser Health News: 4 Takeaways As HHS Relaxes Rules On Contraception Coverage At Work
Here are some frequently asked questions and answers about the new rules. (Carey and Verdon, 10/6)
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra says the rule unlawfully targets women. “What group of Americans will they target next? Will they allow businesses to deny you cancer treatment?" Other states react as well.
The Hill: California Challenges Trump’s Rollback Of Birth Control Mandate
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra (D) on Friday filed a lawsuit challenging the Trump administration's rollback of an Obama-era policy that required employers include birth control coverage in their health insurance plans. “Donald Trump wants businesses and corporations to control family planning decisions rather than a woman in consultation with her doctor. These anti-women's health regulations prove once again that the Trump administration is willing to trample on people’s rights,” Becerra said in a statement. (Manchester, 10/6)
Sacramento Bee: California Preparing Lawsuit To Defend Women's Contraceptive Care
In a complaint filed Friday afternoon in federal district court in San Francisco, Becerra argued that the directive issued by President Donald Trump, through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is unconstitutional. (Hart, 10/6)
San Francisco Chronicle: California Sues Over Trump Administration’s Rollback Of Birth Control Mandate
The lawsuit claims the rule change is unconstitutional because it specifically targets and harms women — thus denying their Fifth Amendment rights to equal protection under the law — and allows employers to use their religious beliefs to discriminate against employees. The suit also accuses the Trump administration of violating a federal law that requires regulatory changes to go through a public comment period before taking effect. It seeks an injunction to stop the policy change from taking effect. (Ho, 10/6)
Boston Globe: Maura Healey To Sue Trump Over Birth Control Regulation
Massachusetts dove headfirst into another legal confrontation with the Trump administration Friday, as Attorney General Maura Healey sued the federal government over newly issued rules giving employers the right to deny women birth control coverage by claiming religious or moral objections. (Ebbert, 10/6)
The CT Mirror: CT Lawmakers Blast Trump Move On Employer Birth-Control Mandate
To Connecticut’s Democratic lawmakers, President Donald Trump’s decision to roll back the Affordable Care Act’s mandate that businesses include birth control benefits in health care policies covering their workers amounted to fighting words. (Radelat, 10/6)