The Department of Health and Human Services has included contraceptive coverage as essential preventive care under the Affordable Care Act, while exempting organizations with an explicit religious mission from having to comply. For some, this exemption does not go far enough. But how far can religious right organizations go in denying their employees access to essential preventive care?
The Department of Health and Human Services has adopted guidelines for insurance coverage on women’s preventive health services that include all the recommendations recently made by the Institute of Medicine and require new health insurance plans to cover women’s preventive services such as well-woman visits, breastfeeding support, domestic violence screening, and contraception without charging a co-payment, co-insurance or a deductible.
As more states debate legislation to protect pharmacists who refuse to fill prescriptions on “moral” grounds, many consumers may face debates, forced public disclosures or delay at the pharmacy counter.
Human rights advocates stated that a pledge signed last Friday by religious leaders that they won’t abide by laws supporting gay marriage or abortion “perpetuates the fallacy that equality and religious liberty are incompatible and that civil rights are another burden on religious people.”
Democratic policymakers vowing to overturn a controversial new Bush administration rule that could limit women’s reproductive health options have several tools at their disposal to do so -– but party leaders aren’t revealing which they favor.
President Bush’s provider conscience expansion is set to go into effect January 18, but the National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association has launched a petition to block the new regulation.
The right of conscience is a time-honored value in our society. But it is not only health providers who have rights; so do patients.
Health care providers already strain to serve women while respecting workers’ rights under existing laws. Now Secretary Leavitt has put even more obstacles between patients and the health care they need.
Under HHS’s new rule, doctors and health care workers of all kinds can deny patients vital health care information and services, without the patient even knowing.
The HHS provider conscience expansion is just one example of an insidious effort by religious right groups to tip the balance away from patient access to care and toward conscience exemptions without consequences.