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New rules expand list of employers that can deny coverage for contraceptives

New rules expand list of employers that can deny coverage for contraceptives”

At the same time the Trump administration announced rolling back the contraceptive coverage rule, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) said it would apply more stringent enforcement to a provision in the ACA that prohibits individuals' premium tax credits or cost sharing reductions from being used to cover abortion care, except in limited circumstances.

Employers with religious or moral qualms will also be able to cover some birth control methods, and not others. The most famous (Burwell v. Hobby Lobby and Zubik v. Burwell) both led to the Supreme Court.

The administration estimated that some 200 employers who have already voiced objections to the Obama-era policy would qualify for the expanded opt-out, and that 120,000 women would be affected.

Among those who have resisted the mandate are the Little Sisters of the Poor, an order of Roman Catholic nuns who said that compliance with the mandate would make them "morally complicit in grave sin".

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In what is likely to be one of the more contested aspects of the document, the Justice Department states that religious organizations can hire workers based on religious beliefs and an employee's willingness "to adhere to a code of conduct". "(It's) a great step forward for religious liberty", said Mark Rienzi, senior counsel at Becket, a law firm that's been fighting to expand religious exemptions for more than five years.

"This was always a big, unnecessary and divisive culture war fight".

Health and Human Services officials said the new rule would have no impact on "99.9% of women" in the United States.

Even Obama's lawyers in 2016 admitted there were many other ways to distribute those drugs if the government decided that was a priority.

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"The Trump Administration's decision to reverse the federal requirement for employers to provide insurance coverage for contraception and abortion drugs and devices upholds the religious freedom for Little Sisters of the Poor, and many other nonprofit organizations, who can not and will not participate in killing innocent children", said Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel. Wrong. The Little Sisters of The Poor still objected because they felt that filing the forms to notify the government made companies "complicit." The guidance that the Trump administration issued today helps protect that First Amendment freedom. "We all should have the liberty to work and live in line with our religious beliefs, without fear of government punishment", said Chris Plante, chief operating officer and policy director for the institute.

"This guidance will help prevent families like the Vander Boons in MI who were threatened with the effective closure of their family-run business for simply expressing a religious point of view on marriage that differed from that of the federal government".

The move would fulfill a campaign promise from Trump and would allow a larger group of employers and insurers to claim religious or moral exemptions from covering birth control. That workaround can continue under the new rules.

In May, Trump signed a decree on religious liberty ordering his administration to take account of objections of conscience on matters of contraception. "Today's actions affirm the Trump administration's commitment to upholding the freedoms afforded all Americans under our Constitution", the statement said.

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