Washington, D.C. – In another attack on access to quality health care for women, the Trump administration finalized two new regulations rolling back the Affordable Care Act’s requirement that most health plans provide preventive care for women, including access to all FDA-approved contraceptives.
The new rule guts the ACA’s requirement that health plans include quality comprehensive reproductive care, by allowing almost any employer, even a publicly traded company, to select health insurance plans that do not provide access to contraceptives by citing religious objections. Further, the rule allows employers to cite undefined “moral objections” and eliminate contraceptive coverage for their employees.
“This regulation will block women from access to medically necessary care by allowing employers to choose health care plans devoid of contraceptive coverage. It is a blatant attempt to re-write the Affordable Care Act’s requirement that employer-provided health insurance plans include access to contraception.” National Health Law Program Executive Director Elizabeth G. Taylor said. “The new Trump rule is such a sweepingly broad exemption that almost any employer can point to moral or religious beliefs in choosing health plans that block access to contraceptive services.”
The National Health Law Program’s Director of Reproductive Health Susan Berke Fogel noted that the regulation would disproportionately harm low-income women and women of color.
“Trump’s new rule is breath-taking in its audacity to allow employers to put their religious or moral beliefs above ensuring that workers have access to quality health care plans.” Fogel said. “Women are entitled to make their own private decisions about whether or not to become pregnant. Instead this rule undermines a worker’s dignity and autonomy by imposing her employer’s beliefs on her. As always the burden will fall more harshly on low-income women and women of color who are less likely to be able to afford the contraceptive method of their choice.”
Fogel continued, “The ACA is about expanding health care coverage, but the Trump administration is working to roll back that progress. This new rule is another example of doing just that. Health insurance plans that block individuals from contraceptive care, are pernicious and they work to limit access to medically sound health care coverage.”