The contraceptive wars go on.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., now says he’ll allow a Senate vote on an amendment that would reverse the White House’s requirement that all insurers provide birth control free of charge to women. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., proposed the vote last week. His plan would exempt employers from providing any care they find immoral.
Blunt says his proposal is about the constitutional right to freedom of religion. President Obama says the White House took care of that with a rule putting the onus on insurers on Friday, the National Journal reports.
Some Catholic leaders and Republicans are still dissatisfied.
But this editorial board thinks Obama made the right call when he made that change.
Of Blunt's proposal, Cecile Richards, president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said it would give businesses and corporations veto power over their employee’s health care decisions. “It would allow any business or corporation to deny any essential health care service they object to,” Richards said.
She's right. And so is Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., who said Blunt’s proposal could lead to effects far beyond contraception. “If I believe that prayer should cure all disease, that’s my belief, and I’m an employer, I can deny coverage for any life-saving intervention.”
The newly formed Coalition to Protect Women’s Health Care said the Blunt proposal could let employers and insurance companies claim a moral or religious exemption for a range of conditions.
“That means employers and insurance companies can not only deny access to birth control, they can also deny access to any essential health care service, including maternity care, HIV/AIDS treatment, mammograms, cancer screenings -- you name it,” the group said in a statement.
Speaking of that contraceptive issue, supporters of President Obama's health care bill's requirement that insurers provide women access to contraceptives free of charge pointed to several polls. The newest is a New York Times/CBS poll released this week that said a majority of Americans, including Catholics, favor the requirement.
The New York Times/CBS Poll said 66 percent support having all health plans cover contraception, including 61 percent who believe the health plans of religiously-affiliated institutions should also offer free contraception .
The Public Religion Research Institute poll last week said 62 percent of women agree that employers should be required to offer health plans that cover contraception at no cost. The poll also showed that 58 percent of Catholics agree that employers should be required to offer health plans that cover contraception at no cost.
A new poll by Public Policy Polling said 57 percent of all voters agree “that women employed by Catholic hospitals and universities should have the same rights to contraceptive coverage as other women.” It also found that 53 percent of Catholic voters agree “that women employed by Catholic hospitals and universities should have the same rights to contraceptive coverage as other women.”
On the campaign trail, GOP presidential contender, and maybe frontrunner for now, Rick Santorum took the healthcare fight down another lane Wednesday. He said that the health insurance system isn’t working and endorsed replacing it with a pay-as-you-go model that would require people to handle their medical bills out of pocket, except for catastrophic, “unanticipated” costs.
What do you think?
Posted by Associate Editor Fannie Flono
Wednesday, February 15, 2012
The contraceptive wars go on.