PA AG urges Biden Administration to revise contraceptive coverage rules

A coalition of 22 states, led by Pennsylvania Attorney General Michelle Henry, has urged the Biden Administration to significantly revise rules from the previous Administration that left individuals without contraceptive coverage who otherwise should have been entitled to complete coverage under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Those rules, issued in 2017 and 2018, added broad exemptions that allowed nearly all types of employers to deny birth control coverage to their employees based on religious or moral objections.

The ACA’s contraceptive coverage mandate was signed into law in 2010 to correct historic inequities in women’s health care. It required all employers and sponsors of health plans to cover the cost of preventive services necessary for women’s health, including contraceptive services. Studies have shown that access to contraceptive care supports individuals’ ability to control their reproductive health, and promotes access to education, jobs, and financial empowerment.

After the Trump Administration issued broad religious and moral exemptions that allowed employers to stop providing contraceptive coverage if they had religious or moral objections, between 70,500 and 126,400 women are estimated to have lost birth control coverage.

Biden Administration’s proposal

In February this year, the Biden Administration proposed new regulations to correct these problems. The proposed regulation would rescind the moral exemption rule, retain the religious exemption rule, and create an Individual Contraceptive Arrangement (ICA) to ensure that patients enrolled in health plans or coverage sponsored by objecting entities would still have the opportunity to obtain contraceptive services at no cost.

Coalition’s letter to Biden Administration

In the letter, addressed to U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra, U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, and Acting U.S. Labor Secretary Julie Su, the coalition of Attorneys General welcome the Biden Administration proposal to restore access to cost-free contraceptive coverage for all Americans. The coalition letter further supports rescinding the moral exemption, and urges the Biden Administration to narrow the religious exemption and make necessary improvements to the ICA.

The coalition of Attorneys General highlighted that expanding access to birth control would help people live healthy, happy, and empowered lives. They also urged the Biden Administration to expand the ICA to include a wider spectrum of individuals who are excluded from contraceptive coverage, carry out a publicity and outreach campaign to inform patients and providers about the ICA and help them enroll in it, and provide additional protections to secure patients’ privacy, safeguard them from retaliation, and create a process for contesting medical bills.

The coalition of Attorneys General includes Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and the District of Columbia.


Gale L Mellott obituary 1948~2023

Born on February 13, 1948, Gale was an avid hunter. He enjoyed woodworking and camping. Services will be private at the convenience of family.